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Friday December 03, 2021

Asif-Iftikhar record partnership crushes Qalandars

June 14, 2021

KARACHI: Asif Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed shared a record partnership as Islamabad United bounced back strongly to defeat Lahore Qalandars by 28 runs to go to the summit of the points table of the HBL PSL-6 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

At the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, at one stage United were 20-5 but Asif and Iftikhar enabled them to finish at 152-7 through a record 123-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Mohammad Musa (3-18), Shadab Khan (2-14) and Fawad Ahmed (2-27) then dismissed Lahore Qalandars for 124 in 18.2 overs.

Lahore at one stage were 86-2 but lost their remaining eight wickets inside 38 runs.

After opting to bat first on a new tricky pitch, Islamabad United faced early collapse and at one stage they were 20-5 in 6.1 overs.

However, a record 123 runs partnership between Asif (75) and Iftikhar (49) enabled Islamabad to reach a fighting total. This is the PSL record stand for the sixth wicket.

It was a huge recovery with Asif taking the centre stage, hammering Daniyal and Rashid Khan mercilessly.

Asif, who completed his fifty off 28 balls, hammered five huge sixes and six fours in his fiery 43-ball knock. This was the third fifty from Asif in his 50th PSL outing and was also his highest score. Asif was removed by Shaheen Afridi in the 19th over.

Iftikhar, who took time at the crease before joining the onslaught, fell to Haris Rauf after the Peshawar-born Test cricketer had smacked six fours in his 37-ball feat.

Earlier, it seemed that Shadab Khan’s decision to bat first was wrong as nothing went in favour of United and in the powerplay they scored just 20 for the loss of four wickets.

Both Shaheen utilised his yorkers well while James Faulkner seemed adept with his variation, although with less speed.

Shaheen provided an early breakthrough to Lahore when he had Usman Khawaja (0) off the third delivery of the first over before Faulkner removed Rohail Nazir (1).

Faulkner’s fine effort continued as he got rid of Colin Munro (4) in his next over before sending back Hussain Talat (8) who offered a half-hearted shot and was held comfortably by Tim David in the deep.

Haris then piled up misery on United when he removed United skipper Shadab Khan for a seven-ball five when he edged an out-swinger to stumper Ben Dunk.

Faulkner (3-19 in 4 overs) was the most impressive. Haris got 2-29 in four overs. Shaheen finished with 2-19 in four overs.

Leggie Rashid Khan remained wicketless, conceding 36 runs in four overs.

Chasing a tricky target, skipper Sohail Akhtar and Fakhar Zaman provided a 55-run opening stand to Lahore Qalandars from 36 balls. Australia’s leggie Fawad removed Sohail, who went for a sweep, missed the ball which hit his back pad. He challenged the lbw decision, but lost the review.

Sohail struck six fours and one six in his 19-ball 34.

Zeeshan Ashraf (1) got run out in the next over. Zeeshan pushed the ball towards point, went for a run but Fakhar was not ready, the left-hander tried to return to his crease but Shadab was quick to hit the stumps.

Musa removed Mohammad Hafeez (8) and Ben Dunk (1) in the 11th over to reduce Lahore to 88-4. Hafeez hit one four in his run-a-ball knock.

In his next over, Musa got the precious scalp of Fakhar (44) who was held superbly in the deep by Iftikhar to bring United back in the game. Fakhar hit two sixes and four fours from 37 balls. Lahore were 93-5 in the 13th over.

Shadab removed Tim David (3) and Rashid Khan (4) in one over to leave Lahore reeling at 99-7 in 14 overs.