With both teams containing several Pakistan national team stalwarts such as Babar Azam, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, there were plenty of intriguing battles on show.
It was Pakistan all-rounder Faheem Ashraf who impressed in the first-half of the match with figures of 3-26 as Islamabad restricted Karachi to 143-6.
Here, we take a closer look at Faheem’s bowling display for defending champions Islamabad United.
RUNS CONCEDED: 26
Introduced into the attack in the fifth over of the powerplay, Faheem wasted no time in making an impact by getting the better of the dangerous Colin Ingram with only his third delivery.
The Pakistan all-rounder wreaked further havoc with his next over where he dismissed Liam Livingstone and Karachi skipper Imad Wasim off consecutive deliveries. The right-armed medium pacer could have had a fourth scalp had Sahibzada Farhan not put down a chance off Aamer Yamin in the deep before he closed out the Karachi innings with a tight final over.
OUT! Short from @iFaheemAshraf and @CAIngram41 fails to time it well. Islamabad United have another wicket. Kings are 27/3 after 5 overs— Cricingif (@_cricingif) February 23, 2019
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details 👉 https://t.co/ygrmnBL1hZ #IUvKK #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/U2ZkPanlvn
Kept it simple and stuck to the basics. He might not be blessed with tearaway pace to trouble the batsmen but Faheem’s approach of bowling wicket-to-wicket paid off handsomely in the dismissals of Livingstone and Imad.
Both the batsmen lost their stumps while trying to guide the ball down to third-man with Faheem getting his radar absolutely spot on.
The medium-pacer also bowled an excellent final over with two set batsmen in Ben Dunk and Yamin in front of him. Faheem only conceded four runs from the first five deliveries before Dunk squeaked in a boundary off the final ball.
OUT! @iFaheemAshraf bowls @liaml4893 (22) and @simadwasim (0) on consecutive deliveries and Karachi Kings are 77/6 in the 15th over— Cricingif (@_cricingif) February 23, 2019
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details 👉 https://t.co/ygrmnBL1hZ #IUvKK #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/q0V68onM44
Not much to fault in Faheem’s efforts on the night with the all-rounder’s performance being head and shoulders above the other Islamabad bowlers. He did, however, bowl a little too short at times and was duly punished by the batsmen on those rare occasions.
VERDICT – 8/10
It is no coincidence that Islamabad fare better when Faheem performs with the ball. In each of the two previous victories by the defending champions in the 2019 PSL, the all-rounder picked up a two-wicket haul.
On Saturday, his three-wicket haul was central to Islamabad tying down Karachi’s formidable batting unit to a respectable total. On a night when Pakistan stars such as Babar, Shadab and Imad were on display, it was Faheem who stole the show with a disciplined bowling performance.
Multan Sultans are feeling the heat after playing four matches in the competition which have yielded just the solitary win. Shoaib Malik and his men come into the clash against Peshawar on the back of two consecutive losses and will be desperate to overturn their fortunes.
Having put up 200 runs on the board in their last clash against Lahore Qalandar, Multan seemed headed for a victory before their hopes were crushed by a last-ball six by David Wiese.
Up top, the Sultans have an in-form James Vince who struck 84 off just 41 balls against Lahore while opener Umar Siddiq impressed too with a maiden PSL half-century. However, concerns remain in the middle-order where star all-rounder Andre Russell has struggled to justify his inclusion.
Russells has picked up just the one wicket in four appearances while his highest score with the bat remains a paltry 18. While Russell will be under pressure to step it up, Multan will need more contributions with the bat from their array of all-rounders including Malik, Shahid Afridi and Dan Christian.
With the ball, the Sultans have been off-colour in the last two matches and they will look towards their senior stars to arrest this decline.
Peshawar, on the other hand, seemed to be on an upward trajectory after back-to-back comprehensive victories over Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings but they were brought crashing down to earth again with a 12-run defeat at the hands of Islamabad United.
Zalmi have been excellent with the ball in their four games with two of their pacers currently finding a place among the top three wicket-takers in the competition. Hasan Ali has been the best bowler on display in the 2019 PSL by some distance with the Pakistan pacer leading the charts with 11 wickets while Wahab Riaz is in third spot with seven scalps.
It is with the bat though that Peshawar have been found wanting and where their primary concerns lie. No Peshawar player features in the top-10 run-scorers in the competition so far with the 90 runs scored by Umar Amin being the highest contribution.
While the likes of Kamran Akmal, Dawid Malan and Imam-Ul-Haq will need to take more responsibility with the bat, Peshawar will be delighted to have Kieron Pollard back in form. After a horrendous start to his campaign, the West Indies all-rounder bounced back with a 22-ball 51 in the loss to Islamabad and his form should augur well for the side’s chances going forward.
Multan Sultans have confirmed that veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi was left out of the playing XI against Islamabad United due to a precaution. The former Pakistan international is expected to return to the line-up for the clash against Peshawar.
Multan Sultans: Umar Siddiq (wk), James Vince, Shoaib Malik (c), Andre Russell, Laurie Evans, Dan Chrsitian, Shahid Afridi, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Irfan Jr, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan
Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Dawid Malan, Umar Amin, Liam Dawson, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (c), Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umaid Asif, Sameen Gul
Match starts at 15:30 UAE time
The league leaders were impressive once again for the fourth match in a row as they chased down Lahore Qalandars’ total of 143-7 in a thrilling finish at Sharjah.
Set 144 to win, Quetta started poorly in the chase with star opener Shane Watson perishing for a duck after trying to lift Rahat Ali over the infield. The Gladiators lost a second big wicket inside the powerplay when Rilee Rossouw was castled by a Yasir Shah delivery.
Opener Ahsan Ali, though, was in excellent touch and raced away to 40 before his innings was ended by Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane. Umar Akmal was unable to continue his excellent form with the right-hander falling for nine to Lahore pacer Haris Rauf.
When Fakhar Zaman ran-out Dwayne Smith moments later, Quetta had been reduced to 81-5 in their chase. However, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz were steady and engineered the Quetta innings back on track through some sensible batting.
The duo shared a sixth-wicket stand of 54 runs before Nawaz was dismissed in the penultimate over. Wiese introduced another late twist in the game by removing Anwar Ali with the first ball of the last over with the equation ultimately coming down to two runs required off the last delivery.
Wiese, who had struck a last-ball six to seal Lahore’s victory over Multan Sultans just a day earlier, got a dose off his own medicine with Sarfraz sending the final delivery flying over the boundary ropes.
SARFRAZ AHMED HAS DONE A JAVED MIANDAD AT SHARJAH @SarfarazA_54 slogs @David_Wiese towards deep mid-wicket and Quetta Gladiators have won!— Cricingif (@_cricingif) February 23, 2019
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details 👉 https://t.co/3vf612zyBu #QGvLQ #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/Adb6z6zs5b
Earlier, Quetta Gladiators skipper Sarfraz Ahmed had won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bowl first. His decision was vindicated by Mohammad Nawaz who struck in the second over the innings itself to dismiss danger man Fakhar Zaman.
Salman Butt’s second innings for Lahore lasted just seven deliveries before the left-hander became Quetta youngster Ghulam Mudassar’s first dismissal of the day. Mudassar removed Sohail Akhtar just two deliveries later as Lahore were reduced to 41-3.
Skipper AB de Villiers continued his good form from the last game and held one end down for his side. However, wickets kept tumbling at the other end with Corey Anderson and David Wiese falling after generating decent starts.
In the end, de Villiers remained unbeaten on a 40-ball 45 with the South African being prevented from doing some late damage after some excellent death bowling by Quetta.
Young pacer Mudassar was the pick of the bowlers for the Gladiators and finished with figures of 3-21 while veteran Sohail Tanvir impressed as well with returns of 2-21.
Lahore Qalandars: 143-7
AB de Villiers: 45 not out (40)
Ghulam Mudassar: 3-21
Quetta Gladiators: 148-7
Sarfraz Ahmed: 52 not out (36)
Haris Rauf: 2-25