PSL 2019: Faheem Ashraf and Asif Ali pull off five-wicket win for Islamabad United

Waseem Ahmed 01:53 15/02/2019
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Islamabad United start with a win. Image - @thePSLt20/Twitter.

Defending champions Islamabad United proved too good for Lahore Qalandars in the end in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) opener at Dubai on Thursday.

Mohammad Hafeez and his men chased down a stiff target of 172 set by Lahore Qalandars with four balls to spare in the end to start off the fourth edition of the PSL on the perfect note.

Batting first, Lahore made an excellent start with openers Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar putting on 97 runs for the first wicket. The former brought up a 33-ball half-century on his way to 65 before he was dismissed by Shadab Khan.

From a position of strength, Lahore lost as many as six wickets in the final five overs to post 171-8 in their 20 overs ultimately.

In reply, Islamabad got off to a flier with the bat as well with Luke Ronchi and Rizwan Hussain adding 45 runs in five overs. Rahat Ali picked up three quick wickets before Cameron Delport played a handy 24-run cameo.

Just when the game was slipping out of the grip of Islamabad, Faheem Ashraf and Asif Ali put on an unbeaten stand of 59 runs with a stunning assault at the death to crush Lahore’s hearts.

RONCHI’S GAFFE COSTS ISLAMABAD FIVE PENALTY RUNS

There was no shortage of drama at the start of the PSL 4 opener with Fakhar Zaman launching Mohammad Sami for a boundary off the very first delivery.

However, a rather unusual sight on the cricket field greeted spectators in the next over bowled by Samit Patel. Islamabad wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi had for some unknown reason left his gloves on the floor before the delivery was bowled.

Unfortunately for the New Zealand man and the defending champions, the ball struck the loose gloves on the way to the fielder, leading the umpires to signal the award of five penalty runs to the batting side.

That was not the end of the drama in the second over, with the umpire bafflingly making Patel bowl a seventh delivery in the over.

ABD ANNOUNCES HIMSELF TO PSL WITH STUNNING ATTACK

With Lahore Qalandars’ openers putting up a 97-run stand in no time, the stage was set for AB de Villiers to do his thing on his PSL debut. The South African ace was beaten all ends up by a stunning Shadab Khan delivery to start off with, but he would wreck havoc on Islamabad in the next over.

Facing up to Hussain Talat, de Villiers smashed the Pakistan all-rounder for two consecutive boundaries to start off the 13th over before carting an effortless six with a golf-like swing in the last delivery.

Within the space of a few deliveries, the South African had announced himself in style to the PSL.

ABD lifts off in Dubai. Image - @thePSLt20/Twitter.

ABD lifts off in Dubai. Image – @thePSLt20/Twitter.

RAHAT’S TRIPLE STRIKE DERAILS ISLAMABAD CHASE

Having seen Lahore Qalandars’ openers lay carnage in the powerplay, Islamabad United replied in kind with Luke Ronchi and Rizwan Hussain racing away to a rollicking start. The two Islamabad openers collected as many as 45 runs from the first five overs to set up an intriguing chase.

However, disaster struck in the final over of the powerplay bowled by Rahat Ali with the Pakistan pacer claiming three wickets in the space of six deliveries.

First it was Rizwan who miscued an attempted slog off before danger-man Ronchi smacked the next delivery straight into the hands of the fielder at fine-leg. Philip Salt survived the hat-trick delivery before creaming the next for a sumptuous boundary. Off the last delivery of the over, the Englishman connected well once again but timed his drive straight into the hands of the fielder at extra cover.

It wasn’t great bowling by any means by Rahat but some ordinary shot-making by the Islamabad batsmen meant that their excellent start had been derailed in just one over.

LAHORE WILT AT THE DEATH WITH BALL TOO

After they had thrown away a great position with the bat in the last five overs, Lahore Qalandars showed no improvement in that aspect with the ball either as they once again wilted at the death.

The Qalandars had Islamabad right where they wanted them at 118-5 at the end of 15 overs but their bowlers proved no match to some exquisite show of hitting by Faheem Ashraf and Asif Ali.

The duo smashed three sixes between themselves as they collected 36 runs from half as many deliveries to bring the equation down to 12 required off 12. From there on it was a canter for the defending champions as Lahore were left to rue their two late collapses.

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