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March 10, 2019

Delport shines as Islamabad march into HBL PSL playoffs


March 10, 2019

KARACHI: It was pure carnage as Islamabad United catapulted themselves into the HBL Pakistan Super League playoffs here at the National Stadium on Saturday night.

As if celebrating PSL’s return to Pakistan, Islamabad – the defending champions – smashed Lahore bowlers all over the park breaking a series of PSL records on their way to 238-3 – the league’s highest ever team total.

South African big-hitter Cameron Delport smashed PSL’s fastest ton while Asif Ali scored its joint fastest fifty (17 balls) as it rained sixes and fours in front of a big crowd at the National Stadium. United hit 16 sixes – the most in a PSL innings – on their way to what was the highest total in a T20 match in Karachi. 176 of their runs came off boundaries.

Delport, who reached his century in 49 balls, was unbeaten on 117 from 60 balls that included six sixes and 13 fours. Asif Ali hit six sixers and three fours in his 21-ball 55 while West Indian Chadwick Walton chipped in with a 30-ball 48.

As if Islamabad’s batting heroics were not enough, medium pacer Faheem Ashraf ripped through Lahore’s batting picking up 6-19 to seal a 49-run triumph for the two-time champions. With his six-wicket haul, Faheem has become the highest wicket-taker of the current PSL season with 19 victims. Sohail Akhtar was the only man to really put up a fight as he cracked a 34-ball 75 that included five sixes and eight fours.

Islamabad, who were in possible danger of missing out on a playoff spot for the first time since the inception of the league, didn’t take any chances. They punished each and every bad delivery bowled by the Qalandars and were particularly ruthless when facing Lahore’s chief wicket-taking hope Shaheen Shah Afridi.

But initially the first game of the Pakistan leg of PSL 4 began with a lot of promise for both Lahore and Shaheen.

Shaheen scalped Islamabad dangerman Luke Ronchi on the very first ball of the crucial game only to concede 62 runs in his four-over spell – the most expensive in PSL history.

The 18-year-old bowled a peach of a delivery to get rid of Ronchi but failed to keep up the tempo as he and other Lahore bowlers allowed Islamabad batters to dictate terms.

Needing a couple of heroic knocks to stay in the hunt, Lahore were off to a flying start with opener Fakhar Zaman and New Zealander Anton Devcich putting up 51 from 25 balls. But wickets kept falling at regular intervals and Lahore were never really able to come within striking distance of a much-needed victory.

Lahore had no one else but themselves to blame. They had the opportunity to take control of the proceedings after sending back Ronchi but bowled too many loose deliveries to allow Delport and other Islamabad batsmen to settle down on a batting paradise that had shorter than normal boundaries.

With yet another defeat, Lahore are now in clear and present danger of bowing out of the contest. Their fate in no more in their own hands as the results of the coming games will decide whether they can make it to the playoff or the end the season in a disappointing manner yet again.

Earlier, spirited Karachi fans braved stringent security measures to throng the National Stadium. There were long but orderly queues in front of the stadium hours before the 7pm start.

Karachi Kings will take on Quetta Gladiators in Sunday’s (today’s) game.

Score Board

Lahore Qalandars won toss

Islamabad United

†L Ronchi c Haris b Shaheen 0

CS Delport not out 117

PD Salt c Haris b Lamichhane 10

CAK Walton b Wiese 48

Asif Ali not out 55

Extras (b 1, lb 4, w 3) 8

Total (3 wickets, 20 overs) 238

Did not bat: Hussain Talat, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, *Mohammad Sami, Muhammad Musa, Rumman Raees

Fall: 1-0, 2-32, 3-150

Bowling: Shaheen 4-0-62-1; Rahat 2-0-27-0; Lamichhane 4-0-46-1; Agha 2-0-14-0; Wiese 4-0-44-1; Haris 4-0-40-0

Lahore Qalandars

*Fakhar Zaman c Salt b Faheem 38

AP Devcich c Walton b Faheem 18

†MH Wessels b Shadab 20

Haris Sohail c Asif b Faheem 0

Sohail Akhtar c Shadab b Faheem 75

D Wiese c Sami b Rumman 12

Agha Salman c Shadab b Faheem 3

Shaheen Shah Afridi b Faheem 1

Haris Rauf run out 7

S Lamichhane not out 6

Rahat Ali not out 1

Extras (b 1, lb 2, nb 2, w 3) 8

Total (9 wickets, 20 overs) 189

Fall: 1-51, 2-65, 3-70, 4-79, 5-133, 6-145, 7-175, 8-175, 9-184

Bowling: Sami 4-0-34-0; Musa 3-0-46-0; Rumman 4-0-45-1; Faheem 4-0-19-6; Shadab 4-0-37-1; Hussain 1-0-5-0

Result: Islamabad United won by 49 runs

Man of the Match: Cameron Delport (IU)

Umpires: Michael Gough (England) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan). TV Umpire: Rashid Riaz (Pakistan)

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