Reigning Pakistan Super League (PSL) champions Islamabad United won a nail-biting victory on Friday against Quetta Gladiators, courtesy pacer Mohammad Sami’s final over at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
With five runs required from last six deliveries by Gladiators, birthday boy Sami, who turned 36, gave away only three runs and picked up the man of the match award for his heroics. In the process, United also qualified for the PSL’s play-off round.
Earlier, winning the toss and opting to bowl first, Gladiators had restricted United to 165 for the loss of six wickets, with medium fast-bowler Anwar Ali and spinner Zulfiqar Babar claiming two wickets each. Meanwhile, left-armer Hasan Khan and pacer Thisara Perera claimed one scalp apiece.
The first innings saw some marvellous batting from United, as batsman Hussain Talat scored a half-century on his PSL debut. He made 56 off 39 deliveries, whereas captain Misbahul Haq (25), wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin (22), and all-rounder Shane Watson (29) all contributed towards the team’s total.
In response, Gladiators were just one run shy of levelling the scores as they were confined to 164 for five in 20 overs, despite half-centuries from star batsmen Kevin Pietersen (69) and Ahmed Shehzad (59). On the other hand, lef-armers Mohammad Irfan and Rumman Raees, alongside Sami, claimed one wicket each.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2017.