Islamabad United 159 for 4 (Gurbaz 62, van der Dussen 42, Neesham 1-21) beat Peshawar Zalmi 156 for 8 (Babar 75*, Haris 40, Hasan 3-35) by 6 wickets
Shadab removed Haris in his first over, and Mubasir Khan cleaned up Saim Ayub with a flipper, but thereafter it was the Hasan show. Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Rovman Powell had their stumped rocked back with almost identical deliveries in a match-turning 10th over. There was a new, edgy send-off from Hasan to each batter as they went on their way, and United had pulled things back superbly. Jimmy Neesham fell in Hasan’s next over, and before long, Babar, having watched the drama happen from the other end, was forced to take matters into his own hands.
He did as much as he could, but Zalmi needed a power hitter, and that’s not an aspect of the game Babar excels at. He farmed the strike and tried to find the boundaries, but couldn’t quite manage enough to give his side the big finish they needed against a fearsome batting line-up. The 156 they finished with felt well short.
A touch of sloppiness in the field didn’t help matters for Zalmi. The hapless Neesham spilled three catches in the Powerplay, even though each was a devilishly hard chance. It was Usman Qadir who finally removed Gurbaz, but by then, he had hit Zalmi out of the game.
Unlike Zalmi, United didn’t relent after the Powerplay. Van der Dussen was finding the gaps regularly, while Asif Ali’s raw power ensured this was only going to be a run-rate salvaging operation for Zalmi. Shadab and van der Dussen fell in those middle overs, but amidst that surfeit of boundaries, one barely noticed.
Azam Khan would finish things off with a colossal six over midwicket, a fitting end to a performance so characteristic of United they may as well have copyrighted it.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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