Faheem’s firework shepherds United to an unlikely win

Our correspondent

RAWALPINDI: Faheem Ashraf’s (51*) sensational display of hitting in the last over earned Islamabad United an unlikely win against Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Eight match at the Pindi Stadium Tuesday evening.

With eight down, United were facing the daunting task of scoring 18 runs in Mohammad Ilyas’s last over to take the day’s honour in wake of a 206 winning target.

Faheem smashed the first two legitimate deliveries for four and six to keep the match alive and then hit two more boundaries to not only achieve the win but also his match-winning fifty. In all Faheem cracked 21 runs of five Ilyas deliveries to strengthen Islamabad’s position on the table. In all Faheem hit two sixes and five fours during his 26-ball knock that produced some stunning strokes. Though he kept on losing partners from the other end, Faheem ensured his team stays on course, making Multan Sultan bowlers pay for every ill-directed delivery.

Mohammad Wasim’s seven-ball 16 also helped the cause during the last few overs but it was Faheem whose innings of substance kept United in the hunt. The majority of Multan Sultan bowlers bowled wayward deliveries that helped Islamabad United’s cause. In all ten wide and one, no ball was delivered by Multan bowlers which ultimately turned out to be a deciding factor.

Islamabad United chase was put on the track by Collin Munro (40) and Shadab Khan (44). Ihsanullah who failed to judge the true bounce of the Pindi wicket was hammered for 16 runs in his first over. Munro also cut loose against leg spinner Usama Mir, hitting him for a straight six that landed on the balcony. On the very next delivery, Usama had his revenge, bowling the New Zealander neck and crop on a flipper that broke through his defenses. By that time Munro had struck three sixes and one four. Azam Khan (3) could not last long scooping the ball to Rizwan for yet another Usama’s wicket. United reached 100 in the 12th over. Shadab who was going great guns lost his wicket to a peach of a delivery by Ihsanullah who by that time settled down quite well. Asif Ali (8) could not stay long and when Isanullah removed young Mubasir Khan (5) after softening him up with a sizzling bouncer, things looked all the more difficult for United.

Earlier, Tim David smashed Rumman Raees for four consecutive sixes and Multan Sultan raised 34 of just seven deliveries. Rumman’ third over conceded 30 runs and set Multan Sultan well on course for a score of over 200.

Shan Masood (75) who raised 80 runs for the third wicket with Tim David (60) lost his wicket in an effort to step up the pace, giving Mohammad Wasim a chance at deep mid-wicket of Faheem Ashraf which he accepted gleefully.

Soon after David completed his 20-ball fifty studded with five sixes and three boundaries.

Multan raised 200 on the first delivery of the 20th over. On the very next ball, David full-blooded shot was taken on deep mid-wicket by Shadab to give Wasim his first wicket. His innings delighted and kept near to capacity Pindi Stadium crowd on their toes. Davis Miller (10) fell on the final delivery as Multan raised a decent 205 for 5 in the allotted 20 overs.

On Wednesday Quetta Gladiators face or die clash against Peshawar Zalmi. A defeat would put curtains on their campaign while a win keeps them hanging on by a bare thread.

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