ABU DHABI: Islamabad United’s saviour Asif Ali pulls during his hurricane knock of 75 against Lahore Qalandars in their HBL Pakistan Super League match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Sunday.
—Courtesy PCB
ABU DHABI: Islamabad United’s saviour Asif Ali pulls during his hurricane knock of 75 against Lahore Qalandars in their HBL Pakistan Super League match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Sunday. —Courtesy PCB

KARACHI: Islamabad United completed an astounding turnaround in Abu Dhabi on Sunday as they surged to the top of the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 standings by sealing a an incredible 28-run victory over Lahore Qalandars at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Down and out in the early part of an absorbing contest, United clawed their way back from 20-5 through a record sixth-wicket partnership of between Iftikhar Ahmed and man of the moment Asif Ali who hit their side of trouble by adding 123 in 76 deliveries.

The combined heroics of Iftikhar and Asif enabled the two-time former champions to 152-7 — a scenario which few had envisaged when James Faulkner led Qalandars’ dominance with the white ball with triple strikes upfront.

But Qalandars — with a notorious history of self-destruction in previous PSL editions — threw away the golden chance of opening a four-point lead at the top by sinking for 124 in the penultimate over after Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar had nonchalantly provided them a blazing start.

Qalandars, however, broke through with last ball of the Powerplay. Sohail seemed quite agitated at being adjudged leg-before to spinner Fawad Ahmed after smashing 34 off 19 balls. The Lahore captain challenged the verdict but TV official Ahsan Raza confirmed that his on-field colleague Asif Yaqoob — who is having a wonderful tournament in the middle — had been spot on when the DRS, yet again, stayed his original decision.

United bowlers kept making inroads as Lahore crumbled from 86-2 at the halfway stage to 100-9, losing seven wickets for the addition of just 14 runs in 26 deliveries. The turning point was the departure of Fakhar Zaman (44 off 37, four fours and two sixes) while no one else — barring last man Haris Rauf (17 off 11) — even managed a double-digit score.

While the wickets were shared around, with Mohammad Musa Khan grabbing 3-13 and captain Shadab Khan 2-14 leading the remarkable comeback, the real heroes were Iftikhar and Asif.

Asif knows only way to express himself, throw his bat at everything, but uncharacteristically he was rather circumspect in playing his best knock for a while. No more in contention for Pakistan after a horrible run of negligible contributions of late, the right-hander crunched six boundaries and five sixes in registering 75 from 43 balls — his highest PSL score.

Iftikhar, who later excelled in the field with three catches — including a sensational airborne effort to seal the game — was unfortunately in missing out on a richly deserved half century by a single run.

But his 37-ball knock of 49 (six boundaries) went a long way in setting up Islamabad’s fifth triumph after they had been deprived of the services of Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali.

Scoreboard

ISLAMABAD UNITED:

Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

U.T. Khawaja c Dunk b Shaheen 0 3 0 0 0.00

C. Munro lbw b Faulkner 4 11 0 0 36.36

Rohail Nazir lbw b Faulkner 1 3 0 0 33.33

Hussain Talat c David b Faulkner 8 13 1 0 61.53

Shadab Khan c Dunk b Haris 5 7 0 0 71.42

Iftikhar Ahmed c Rashid b Haris 49 37 6 0 132.43

Asif Ali hit wicket b Shaheen 75 43 6 5 174-41

Mohammad Wasim not out 4 4 0 0 100.00

Mohammad Musa Khan not out 0 0 0 0 0.00

EXTRAS (B-2, LB-1, W-2, NB-1) 6 - - - --

TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 152 - - - --

FALL OF WKTS: 1-0 (Khawaja), 2-4 (Rohail), 3-13 (Munro), 4-20 (Hussain), 5-20 (Shadab), 6-143 (Asif), 7-150 (Iftikhar).

DID NOT BAT: Fawad Ahmed, Ali Khan.

BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-19-2 (1nb); Faulkner 4-0-19-3; Haris Rauf 4-0-29-2 (1w); Rashid Khan 4-0-36-0 (1w); Ahmed Daniyal 4-0-46-0.

LAHORE QALANDARS:

Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Fakhar Zaman c Iftikhar b Musa 44 37 4 2 118.91 Sohail Akhtar lbw b Fawad 34 19 6 1 178.94

Zeeshan Ashraf run out 1 2 0 0 50.00

Mohammad Hafeez c Hussain b Musa 8 8 1 0 100.00

B.R. Dunk c Rohail b Musa 1 3 0 0 33.33

T.H. David c Iftikhar b Shadab 3 8 0 0 37.50

Rashid Khan b Shadab 4 7 0 0 57.14

J.P. Faulkner b Fawad 1 5 0 0 20.00

Shaheen Shah Afridi run out 0 1 0 0 0.00

Ahmed Daniyal not out 6 9 1 0 66.66

Haris Rauf c Iftikhar b Ali Khan 17 11 0 2 154.54 EXTRAS (LB-2, W-3) 5 - - - --

TOTAL (all out, 18.2 overs) 124 - - - --

FALL OF WKTS: 1-55 (Sohail), 2-58 (Zeeshan), 3-86 (Hafeez), 4-88 (Dunk), 5-93 (Fakhar), 6-97 (David), 7-99 (Rashid), 8-100 (Shaheen), 9-100 (Faulkner), 10-124 (Haris).

BOWLING: Mohammad Wasim 3-0-38-0; Ali khan 2.2-0-10-1 (1w); Mohammad Musa Khan 3-0-18-3 (2w); Fawad Ahmed 4-0-27-2; Iftikhar Ahmed 2-0-15-0; Shadab Khan 4-0-14-2.

RESULT: Islamabad United won by 28 runs.

UMPIRES: Asif Yaqoob and Shozab Raza.

TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza.

MATCH REFEREE: Iftikhar Ahmed.

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Asif Ali (Islamabad United).

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2021

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