Quetta Gladiators await the winners of the encounter in the final.
Islamabad are fresh from their success against Karachi Kings on Thursday, winning the first Eliminator by four wickets.
Their deep batting order was on show again as they chased down a target of 162 with three balls to spare.
After Cameron Delport and Alex Hales set up the innings nicely at the top of the order, a momentary wobble meant the talents of Hussain Talat, Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf were needed to get over the line.
ROAR MOMENTS! ⚡— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 14, 2019
The match between @IsbUnited and @KarachiKingsARY was thrilling and had plenty of roar moments
Ball-by-ball scorecard 👉 https://t.co/eNCXIuAbZD #IUvKK #PSL2019 #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll #ReadyToRoar #LiveLikeALion pic.twitter.com/rGh2rMnyb1
With so many players capable of contributing to put runs on the board, they always have a chance, even if Luke Ronchi doesn’t get going.
The way their bowling attack was dispatched to all parts of the ground early on in Karachi’s innings was only as concerning as their fightback – led by PSL 2019’s second-highest wicket-taker Faheem Ashraf and seamer Muhammad Musa – was encouraging.
Peshawar Zalmi on the other hand has been one of the standout teams this season. Indeed, they topped the league table with seven wins from their 10 matches before losing the qualifier to second place Quetta Gladiators.
Led by the league’s top wicket-taker this season, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz, Peshawar boast the strongest bowling attack but that didn’t stop in-form Shane Watson from showing them little respect during his match-winning knock of 71 from 43 balls during the Qualifier.
While Kamran Akmal and Immam-ul-Haq have been good at the top of the order without producing fireworks on a regular basis, Peshawar do boast plenty of power hitters lower down.
The likes of Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy are capable and the duo nearly pulled off a stunning chase against Quetta. Pollard (44 off 22) and Sammy (46 off 21) both had 200-plus strike rates as they took Peshawar far before falling in quick succession at the death.
ROAR MOMENTS! ⚡— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 13, 2019
The match between @TeamQuetta and @PeshawarZalmi was thrilling and had plenty of roar moments
Ball-by-ball scorecard 👉 https://t.co/hpkh4wGHHF #PZvQG #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll #ReadyToRoar #LiveLikeALion pic.twitter.com/QoffuVj5w6
Islamabad United: Luke Ronchi (wk), Alex Hales, Cameron Delport, Chadwick Walton, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Sami (c), Muhammad Musa, Rumman Raees
Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Liam Dawson, Kieron Pollard, Sohaib Maqsood, Darren Sammy (c), Chris Jordan, Umar Amin, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sameen Gul
The duo put up a 52-run stand for the first wicket which came off just 21 balls. Munro was particularly explosive, hitting six boundaries and a six. However, he departed with a strike rate of 290.90 when he edged a Muhammad Musa delivery behind for Luke Ronchi.
Liam Livingstone supported Azam and Karachi brought up their 100 in 10 overs but things then started to fall apart. Both batsmen were dismissed in consecutive overs and the team consistently lost wickets with Musa ending with figures of 3-42. The hosts struggled to 161/9.
Despite Ronchi’s early dismissal, Islamabad’s chase began well with Cameron Delport and Alex Hales setting the course. Imad Wasim’s side fought back though, starting with the wicket of Delport who departed for 38 from 27 balls while Hales got to 41 from 42.
After Chadwick Walton got out for a duck, the tie hung in the balance but as they did with the bat, Karachi crumbled with the ball in the latter stages as well. Hussain Talat accelerated United towards their target with a knock of 32 from 19 balls which included three sixes before Faheem Ashraf (17) and Asif Ali (24*) got them over the line with three balls to spare.
Colin Munro did the damage at the top of the order, hitting 32 of just 11 balls while Babar Azam scored 42 off 32.
However, the defending champions fought back midway through the innings, picking up a flurry of wickets and restricting Karachi to 161/9 when they seemed to be on course for a 200-plus score.
Here, we take a closer look at the Munro’s display.
Runs scored: 32
Balls faced: 11
Munro wasted no time in setting Karachi on their way. Off the 11 deliveries he faced, only one was a dot ball.
Apart from two singles, the rest of his runs came in boundaries. Even though Azam was no slouch at the other end, the New Zealand international’s explosive hitting saw him overshadow his fellow opener to an extent.
The Pakistani batsman seemed to assume the responsibility of playing a longer innings, while Munro went on the offensive. Their 52-run stand came off just 21 balls before Munro was dismissed by Muhammad Musa, departing with a strike rate of 290.90.
Munro took the game to Islamabad and played exclusively on the front foot. He refused to curb his aggression during his fearless knock and relished the fuller length deliveries.
The 32-year-old favoured the offside, spanking the ball through the covers on a few occasions while he launched Musa over the ropes straight down the wicket.
SIX AND OUT! MUSA REMOVES COLIN MUNRO @manuz05 hits Musa for the maximum, but the youngster has his revenge and Karachi Kings are 56/1 after 4 overs— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 14, 2019
Ball-by-ball scorecard 👉 https://t.co/eNCXIuAbZD #PZvQG #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll #OyeHoyeMoments pic.twitter.com/VSexwoh6pv
We’re being hypercritical here, but despite the loose bowling from Islamabad early on in the innings, Munro should’ve acknowledge a rare good delivery when it came along.
He faced a relatively good one from Faheem Ashraf, while batting on 26 but tried to force it through the covers. He didn’t catch it right and it was fielded comfortably.
Then, after dispatching Musa for a six in the following over, he tried to wildly cut the next ball through the offside when the delivery didn’t allow him much room to extend his arms. He only succeeded in edging it behind for Luke Ronchi.
He faced a similar ball from Mohammad Sami in the first over which he also tried to hit with force, but his pull shot was mistimed and he only picked up a single on that occasion.
VERDICT – 7/10
Despite his early dismissal, Munro did his job. His explosive cameo at the top of the order along with Azam’s knock set up Karachi for a mammoth total but his side weren’t able to capitalise on that superb platform.