DUBAI: Saeed Ajmal, playing only his second competitive match since November 2015, struck with his first ball and then produced a double-strike in his last over to help Islamabad United defend 132 against Karachi Kings in a last-ball thriller here on Sunday.
With Karachi needing 16 off the last over, bowled by Shane Watson, Usama Mir was run-out off the first ball, which was called a wide. The next ball was sliced away for four by Mohammad Amir before Watson rebounded with a dot. The fourth ball of the over was bizarre, wicketkeeper Sam Billings hit the stumps, after Amir had backed away and failed to connect, but the bails refused to budge.
Ravi Bopara then launched a six off the penultimate ball, but Watson held his nerve as Islamabad edged out Karachi.
This meant that Islamabad secured their first points in the Pakistan Super League, after two straight losses. Chasing 133, Karachi lost their openers within four overs.
Imad Wasim, who had batted at No 7 in his previous match, was promoted to No 3, and put Karachi back on track with six fours. Wasim’s dismissal, however, sparked as collapse as Karachi fell from 35 for 2 to 87 for 7.
It was Ajmal who hastened the collapse with two wickets in three balls in the 15th over. He had Shakib Al Hasan holing out to deep square leg for 20 and then forced a leading edge off Saifullah Bangash.
This left Karachi needing 46 off 30 balls with only three wickets in hand. Bopara, who had taken two wickets with his slow rollers and cutters, lifted Karachi with an unbeaten 32 in 19 balls, but couldn’t get his team over the line.
Earlier in the day, Islamabad had endured a collapse of their own. They gave away five wickets for only 19 runs. But impetus at the top, courtesy a 45-run partnership between Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, and late blows from Mohammad Sami pushed Islamabad to 132, which eventually proved just enough.
Earlier on Saturday night Peshawar Zalmi’s bowling attack had another fine night as they smothered Lahore Qalandars to 117 for 6 to set up a nine-wicket victory.
With Chris Gayle, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali and Dwayne Bravo, Lahore have arguably the best batting line-up in the Pakistan Super League. But Peshawar had the upper hand right from the first ball — Junaid Khan went full and straight and Gayle’s stumps went for a toss.
Two deliveries later, Cameron Delport was run out for a duck courtesy a direct hit from Shahid Yousuf at mid-on. Azhar (31), Akmal (21) and Bravo (32) helped Lahore last the full quota of overs. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar picked up 2 for 11 and an economy rate of 2.75. Shahid Afridi, the captain, finished with 0 for 18 from his four overs.
A required rate less than run-a-ball in the chase was never going to be a problem and it proved so as Peshawar openers Tamim Iqbal (55*) and Mohammad Hafeez (43) knocked off 80% of the target. They added 95 in 68 balls and the remaining 23 runs were secured with ease.
Karachi Kings won toss
S R Watson lbw b Imad 13
Sharjeel Khan c Imad b Amir 28
Khalid Latif b Bopara 39
Ashar Zaidi run out 6
A D Russell c & b Usama 2
*Misbah-ul-Haq c Shakib b Bopara 4
†S W Billings run out 4
Imran Khalid run out 12
M Sami not out 20
Saeed Ajmal not out 0
Extras (lb 1, w 3) 4
Total (8 wickets; 20 overs) 132
Did not bat: Rumman Raees
Fall: 1-31, 2-76, 3-89, 4-91, 5-91, 6-95, 7-111, 8-123
Bowling: Amir 4-0-30-1; Sohail 4-0-28-0 (1w); Imad 1-0-11-1; Shoaib 2-0-12-0 (1w); Shakib 2-0-11-0; Bopara 4-0-25-2 (1w); Usama 3-0-14-1
L M P Simmons run out 1
J M Vince lbw b Saeed 2
Imad Wasim c Billings b Russell 29
*Shoaib Malik b Sami 6
Shakib Al Hasan c Imran b Saeed 20
Iftikhar Ahmed c Sharjeel b Rumman 19
R S Bopara not out 32
†Saifullah Bangash c Imran b Saeed 0
Sohail Tanvir run out 1
Usama Mir run out 10
M Amir not out 5
Extras (b 1, w 3, nb 1) 5
Total (9 wickets; 20 overs) 130
Fall: 1-2, 2-3, 3-35, 4-40, 5-71, 6-86, 7-87, 8-90, 9-118
Bowling: Russell 4-0-23-1; Imran 1-1-0-0; Sami 4-0-26-1 (1nb, 1w); Saeed 3-0-27-3 (1w); Rumman 4-0-22-1; Watson 4-0-31-0 (1w)
Result: Islamabad United won by 2 runs
Points: Islamabad United 2, Karachi Kings 0
Umpires: Rashid Riaz (Pakistan) and J S Wilson (West Indies). TV umpire: Shozab Raza (Pakistan). Match referee: M Anees (Pakistan)