Islamabad United crowned PSL 9 champions

By our correspondent
KARACHI: Islamabad United won their third HBL PSL title after they edged over Multan Sultans, by a mere two wickets, in the HBL PSL 9 final following a last-ball thriller, at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Monday night. The HBL PSL 9 champions bagged PKR 140,000,000 as prize money, whereas, Multan Sultans, the runners-up, received PKR 56,000,000.
Imad Wasim, who registered a historic five-wicket haul in the first innings, was adjudged player of the match as Islamabad United lifted the HBL PSL trophy after winning the first final they made since 2018.
Multan Sultans won the toss and elected to bat first. The first over, bowled by Naseem Shah, saw the drama unfold as Salman Ali Agha caught Mohammad Rizwan on the fourth ball, only for the umpire to signal a no-ball as Naseem overstepped.
Imad Wasim struck on the third ball of the next over to remove Yasir Khan, who was caught by Tymal Mills. David Willey, batting at three, hit Imad for a six on the fifth delivery. On the very next ball, Willey’s stumps were shattered as the second wicket fell for Multan.
The fifth over, bowled by Hunain Shah, was capitalized by Rizwan and Usman Khan as both hit two boundaries each to snatch 17 from the over. At the end of the powerplay, Multan stood at 48-2.
The 53-run third-wicket stand between Rizwan and Usman was broken in the 10th over as Shadab Khan removed his counterpart for run-a-ball 26.
In the next over, Usman smashed a four and a six to keep the score flowing. Imad, returning to the attack, got his third wicket when Johnson Charles (4, 6b) was caught by Naseem at short fine.
In the 15th over, Usman brought up his second HBL PSL 9 half-century. In the same over, Usman and Khushdil Shah hit a boundary each as Multan got to 114-4 with five overs left.
Shadab removed Usman (57, 40b, 7x4s, 1×6) on the first ball of the next over. Usama Mir, the next batter in, smashed a maximum on his first ball. The Islamabad skipper avenged himself on the subsequent delivery, as Hunain pouched an important catch to dismiss Usama (6, 2b, 1×6).
The 17th over, bowled by Imad, saw three wickets at the expense of just three runs, paralyzing Multan’s innings. Khushdil (11, 13b, 1×4) and Chris Jordan (0, 1b) were removed on consecutive deliveries as Imad completed a five-wicket haul, becoming the first bowler to do so across nine HBL PSL finals.
Abbas Afridi was run out on the final ball of the same over, as Multan were reduced to 127-9 after losing five wickets for just 13 runs over the course of two overs.
With only two overs remaining, Iftikhar stepped on the gas pedal. He smashed two sixes against Mills in the penultimate over. Then, facing Naseem in the final over, he produced two boundaries and one six to help Multan finish at a competitive total of 159-9.
Imad was the pick of the bowlers, getting a five-fer. Shadab bagged three wickets.
In pursuit of 160-run target, Islamabad United started on a 26-run opening partnership between Colin Munro and Martin Guptill, until Khushdil removed the former for 17 on 13, with four boundaries, in the fourth over.
In the final over of the powerplay, Khushdil completed a successful return catch to send Salman (10, 11b, 2x4s) back to the pavilion as Islamabad finished six overs at 46-2.
Shortly after, Shadab (4, 8b) failed to execute a sweep shot as Iftikhar disturbed the stumps to bring Islamabad three down, with 58 on the board, after nine overs.
Usama, brought to the attack to bowl the 11th over, was on the receiving end of Guptill’s onslaught as he conceded 18 on the back of two sixes and a four. The next over saw 15 runs scored on the back of three boundaries, with Azam Khan hitting two of them.
The stabilizing 47-run fourth-wicket stand between Guptill and Azam was unceremoniously ended when the former was run out in the 13th over. Guptill walked back after contributing 50 from 32, showcasing four boundaries and three maximums.
Imad joined Azam on the crease, with 58 needed off 43 deliveries. The two could only add 19 runs collectively before Azam (30, 22b, 4x4s, 1×6) edged one to the keeper to award Usama a wicket.
Haider Ali (5, 3b, 1×4) and Faheem Ashraf (1, 4b) were removed cheaply as trouble deepened for the chasing side, who required 31 off 17 to get over the line.
The 18th and 19th overs yielded 12 and 11 runs respectively, to bring the equation to eight needed from the final over with Naseem (17, 9b, 2x4s, 1×6) and Imad (19 not out, 17b, 2x4s) on the crease. Naseem hit a four on the second ball but was dismissed on the penultimate ball of the game, with scores leveled.
Hunain, needing one off the final delivery, hit the winning runs as Islamabad secured the title for the first time since 2018.
Khushdil and Iftikhar returned with two wickets each while Willey, Ali and Usama had one each.
Scores in brief:
Islamabad United beat Multan Sultans by two wickets
Multan Sultans 159-9, 20 overs (Usman Khan 57, Iftikhar Ahmed 32 not out; Imad Wasim 5-23, Shadab Khan 3-32)
Islamabad United 163-8, 20 overs (Martin Guptill 50, Azam Khan 30, Imad Wasim 19 not out; Iftikhar Ahmed 2-19, Khushdil Shah 2-21)
Player of the match – Imad Wasim (Islamabad United)
Emerging Player of the Tournament – Muhammad Irfan Khan (171 runs, Karachi Kings)
All-Rounder of the Tournament – Saim Ayub (345 runs, Eight wickets, Peshawar Zalmi)
Fielder of the Tournament – Muhammad Irfan Khan (Eight catches, Karachi Kings)
Wicketkeeper of the Tournament – Azam Khan (10 dismissals, 226 runs, Islamabad United)
Bowler of the Tournament – Usama Mir (24 wickets, Multan Sultans)
Batter of the Tournament – Usman Khan (430 runs, Multan Sultans)
HBL – Player of the Tournament – Shadab Khan (305 runs, 14 wickets, Islamabad United)
Spirit of Cricket Award – Peshawar Zalmi
Umpire of the Tournament – Asif Yaqoob

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