Dubai: In the early match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Dubai International Stadium on Saturday, a shoddy batting performance from Islamabad United saw them crashing to a 34-run defeat to Peshawar Zalmi.
Chasing Peshawar’s target of 176 for six, some of Islamabad’s reputed batsmen played reckless shots to get restricted to 142 for nine at close. Almost of all the batsmen hit high as if they wanted to test the catching abilities of the fielders.
Umaid Asif, a thirty-three-year-old medium pacer, with a spell of four for 23 and backed by 19-year-old leg spinner Ibtisam Shaikh (three for 20) demolished Islamabad’s batting. Islamabad, electing to field first, found openers Kamran Akmal and Tamim Iqbal in full flow placing on 69 runs in 7.3 overs.
Akmal scored a breezy 53 runs in the 69-run partnership before a slower delivery from Samit Patel had him caught at sweeper cover boundary by Chadwick Walton, while attempting to hit over the covers. His bang came off just 32 balls and contained three sixes and seven boundaries.
Iqbal and Dwayne Smith further continued the run flow and took the score to 121 by the 13th over when Andre Russell had Iqbal caught by Shadab Khan at point for 39.
In the next over Faheem Ashraf abandoned Smith (30) by forcing him to hit high and take a well judged return catch. Peshawar, who had raced to 100 in the first 10 overs, could have scored more runs but skipper Darren Sammy and Harris Sohail fell for nine and four runs respectively. Mohammad Hafeez remained unbeaten on 30 off 22 balls and Peshawar ended up posting 176 for 6. Islamabad started their chase with Walton hitting the fourth ball of the first over from Mohammad Asghar for a six over midwicket.
Asif struck in the second over by having Walton, who went for another big shot and got caught by Wahab Riaz at mid-on. Asif also took the wicket of Luke Ronchi in the same over when he also hit straight to Riaz at mid-on. Some poor shotmaking continued and Asif Ali became Asif’s third victim when he hit him uppishly to Mohammad Hafeez at wide midwicket. With the last ball of the fourth over, Asif also had Hussain Talat caught behind by Kamran Akmal. Being four down for 25 in just four overs is the worst start any team could have imagined while chasing an impressive total.
Patel and Iftikhar Ahmad tried to settle down even-though the required run-rate kept increasing slowly. To make matters worse, Peshawar introduced Riaz, who started by bowling at around 140 kmph. It was Chris Jordan that got the next wicket when he had Ahmad pull Tamim at short midwicket for nine in the eighth over. Next person Shadab Khan seemed to be in a hurry like others. He went for a pull and top edged to give a return catch to Shaikh. At the half way mark, Islamabad were at a pathetic 61 for six. Andrew Russell, who hit Jordan for two progressive boundaries, played an unbelievably reckless shot off Shaikh and got caught at long on for 11. Asif could have ended up getting a five-wicket haul had Tamim not dropped Faheem Ashraf at third man while playing another reckless shot.
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