- Contest goes down to the final ball as Lahore overcome 143-run target
Lahore Qalandars clinched the nail-biting thriller against Islamabad United by five wickets, courtesy last-over heroics of Rashid Khan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Earlier, Lahore captain Sohail Akhtar opted to bowl first with an aim to restrict Islamabad United. The decision bore fruit as his bowlers helped restrict Islamabad to a modest 143-run total.
The pressure of dot balls proved fatal for United’s rusty-looking batting lineup as the batsmen kept falling in quest of runs. No Islamabad batsman could cross the 20-run mark and Faheem Ashraf remained the top-scorer with his 27 runs at the bottom of the innings. His short stint at the end was followed by Hassan Ali’s quick 14 boosted United to a competitive total of 143/9.
For Qalandars, star leg-spinner Rashid Khan remained the most economical bowler with his figures of 9/1, while Australian all-rounder James Faulkner was the most successful bowler in terms of wickets. He bagged 3 for 32 in his four overs.
In response, Qalandars made a nervous start and lost two early wickets of Fakhar Zaman (9) and Muhammad Faizan (9). Lahore were 44-2 in the 8th over before Sohail Akhtar (40) and Mohammad Hafeez (29) added another 48 for the third wicket partnership, taking the score to 82.
Just when things looked settled for Lahore Qalandars, they lost both set batsmen within the space of 15 balls, giving Islamabad another chance to make a comeback. The panic was triggered when Sohail got trapped before the wicket on Fawad Ahmed’s wrong’un at the score of 82, followed by Hafeez, who skied one while trying to sweep Hassan Ali over the midwicket.
Qalandars were 97/4 when Tim David joined Ben Dunk in the middle. The duo played some shots in order to bring down the asking rate. Nonetheless, Islamabad required 24 runs off the final two overs, and the ball was in Hassan Ali’s hand. He bowled a brilliant over with a wicket of Ben Dunk (17) on the fourth ball of the over followed by a six on the last that came off Tim David's bat. Total seven runs came off the penultimate over; Lahore still required 16 off the final over.
Hussain Talat was asked to bowl the final over, a gamble by skipper Shadab Khan, and Rashid Khan had the strike. He sent the first three balls to the boundary followed by a couple on the fourth ball to make an impossible ask look achievable. Just two runs were required off the final two balls, which came in singles and Lahore won a nail-biter contest by 5 wickets. Rashid remained not out with 15 runs off just 5 balls.