KARACHI: A number of records tumbled at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday as leaders Islamabad United rode on a brilliant undefeated century from stand-in skipper Usman Khawaja before overcoming a spirited Peshawar Zalmi side by 15 runs to tune up for HBL Pakistan Super League 6 playoffs.
Islamabad — title winners in 2016 and 2018 — played like true champions while amassing 247-2 after Peshawar Zalmi opted to field first on a hot evening. The previous best total in PSL also belonged to Islamabad, when they posted 238-3 against Lahore Qalandars at Karachi’s National Stadium in March 2019.
But Peshawar didn’t go down without a fight as they collected 232-6 while ensuring their final net run-rate didn’t suffer. Their qualification for the playoffs now hinges on other results with Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings also in the fray to join Islamabad United in the next phase.
The match aggregate of 479 for the loss of eight wickets in this fixture was another PSL landmark — improving on the 427-12 between Islamabad and Lahore in that same fixture — and is only 18 runs shy of the world-record T20 tally of 497 for seven, set by Central Districts and Otago in New Zealand’s domestic tournament at New Plymouth in December 2016.
And appropriately enough, Khawaja — born in Islamabad before migrating Down Under and earning Australia colours — helped himself to a third ton in 103 Twenty20 matches, while playing the lead role with a brilliantly-constructed 105 from just 56 deliveries after registering the first-half mark in 35 balls and then required only 18 more to bring up the three-figure milestone.
Zalmi needed a miraculous effort to scale the Everest-like target. Inevitably they had to attack from ball one under immense pressure and fell short despite the efforts of veterans Kamran Akmal (53 off 32 balls, seven fours and two sixes) and Shoaib Malik (68 off 36, six fours and three sixes) and a late eight-ball cameo of 29 from Sherfane Rutherford, who crunched spinner Zafar Gohar for four successive sixes in an over costing 30 runs.
Their cause was not aided by the first-ball demise of Hazratullah Zazai to Hasan Ali’s juggling catch in the deep. Akif Javed also removed the recalled Imam-ul-Haq and Rovman Powell, while in between those dismissals, one of Hussain Talat’s gentle seamers induced Kamran into hitting high before Iftikhar Ahmed poached the catch brilliantly inside the mid-wicket fence.
But it was virtually one way traffic in the direction of Islamabad all evening thanks to the heroics of Khawaja and company. While Khawaja, who struck 13 fours and three sixes — reaching exactly 100 with the third of them off Umaid Asif with a powerful strike over the bowler’s end — Islamabad were also indebted to Colin Munro, Asif Ali and Brandon King who all crossed 40s.
Munro and Khawaja matched each other in terms of their strike-rates to set up the perfect platform as the two left-handers put on 98 in 59 deliveries until the New Zealander was completely fooled by a dead-slow delivery from Malik that knocked off the off stump. The in-form Munro’s 28-ball 48 contained five boundaries and two sixes.
Asif Ali fully capitalised on the rare opportunity of batting at No.3 and missed out on the chance of smashing the quickest half-century in the PSL. In a partnership of 47 from 18 balls, Asif’s share was 43 off mere 14 deliveries (five sixes and two fours). He was rampant on pacer Sameen Gul, clattering him for 6, 6, 4 and 6 before holing out in the deep.
King arrived to partner player-of-the-match Khawaja in a ballistic unbroken stand of 102 in 43 balls with the West Indian right-hander contributing a 22-ball 46 punctuated with five fours and a brace of sixes before Khawaja put on the icing on Islamabad’s cake by 21 runs off the final over bowled by Umaid.
(Tabulated under, played, won, lost, tied, no-result, points, net run-rate):
Islamabad United 9 7 2 0 0 14 +0.945
Peshawar Zalmi 10 5 5 0 0 10 +0.586
Lahore Qalandars 8 5 3 0 0 10 -0.183
Multan Sultans 8 4 4 0 0 8 +0.836
Karachi Kings 8 3 5 0 0 6 -0.288
Quetta Gladiators 9 2 7 0 0 4 -1.913
*updated after Islamabad United vs
Peshawar Zalmi match on Thursday.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
U.T. Khawaja not out 105 56 13 3 187.50
C. Munro b Malik 48 28 5 2 167.85
Asif Ali c Zazai b Sameen 43 14 2 5 307.14
B.A. King not out 46 22 5 3 209.09 EXTRAS (lb-2, w-4) 6 - - - --
TOTAL (for two wkts, 20 overs) 247 - - - --
FALL OF WKTS: 1-98 (Munro), 2-145 (Asif Ali).
DID NOT BAT: Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Akhlaq, Hasan Ali, Zafar Gohar, Fawad Ahmed, Akif Javed.
BOWLING: Wahab Riaz 4-0-35-0 (2w); Sameen Gul 4-0-56-1 (2w); Umaid Asif 4-0-54-0; Abrar Ahmed 3-0-48-0; Shoaib Malik 2-0-14-1; Waqar Salamkheil 3-0-38-0.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Hazratullah Zazai c Hasan b Akif 0 1 0 0 0.00
Kamran Akmal c Iftikhar b Hussain 53 32 7 2 165.62
Imam-ul-Haq c Hasan b Akif 7 8 1 0 87.50
Shoaib Malik b Hussain 68 36 6 3 188.88
R. Powell c Akhlaq b Akif 14 11 2 0 127.27 S.E. Rutherford c Akhlaq b Hasan 29 8 1 4 362.50
Wahab Riaz not out 28 15 1 2 186.66
Umaid Asif not out 20 9 2 1 222.22
EXTRAS (LB-6, W-7) 13 - - - --
TOTAL (for six wkts, 20 overs) 232 - - - --
FALL OF WKTS: 1-0 (Zazai), 2-35 (Imam), 3-88 (Kamran), 4-128 (Powell), 5-174 (Rutherford), 6-185 (Malik).
DID NOT BAT: Sameen Gul, Abrar Ahmed, Waqar Salamkheil.
BOWLING: Akif Javed 4-0-43-3 (3w); Hasan Ali 4-0-30-1; Zafar Gohar 4-0-65-0 (2w); Fawad Ahmed 4-0-51-0 (1w); Hussain Talat 4-0-37-2.
RESULT: Islamabad United won by 15 runs.
UMPIRES: Rashid Riaz and Shozab Raza.
TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza.
MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Anees.
PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Usman Khawaja (Islamabad United).
FRIDAY’S FIXTURE: Lahore Qalandars vs Multan Sultans (9:00pm PST).
Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2021