KARACHI: Afghanistan star Rashid Khan did a good job both with bat and ball as Lahore Qalandars downed Islamabad United by five wickets in their last-ball thriller which opened the Abu Dhabi leg of the HBL PSL-6 on Wednesday night.
The win, their fourth, enabled Lahore Qalandars to go to the top of the points table in the six-team event with eight points.
Rashid got 1-9 while Australian pacer James Faulkner picked 3-32 to enable Lahore to restrict Islamabad United to 143-9 on a slow pitch.
Lahore needed 16 from the final over, bowled by Hussain Talat. Rashid hit the right-armer for three successive fours off his first three balls and Tim David (23* off 15) got the winner off the last ball to bring in a well-deserved victory for Lahore. Rashid scored 15 off just five balls.
United looked in contention after Hasan Ali, who took two wickets for 27 runs at a decent economy of 6.75, gave away only seven runs and dismissed Ben Dunk in the penultimate over. Hasan bowled a clean over, darting four dots before Tim David finished it with a six that went over the bowler’s head.
Qalandars’ innings was anchored by their captain Sohail Akhtar who top-scored with a 30-ball 40 and smashed five fours and a six.
Sohail’s knock included a 38-run partnership for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez (29 off 25, three fours) that steadied Qalandars’ innings after they had lost their first two wickets for 44 in 7.4 overs. The highlight of their partnership was the 12th over in which the pair smashed Shadab for three fours.
The next over, Fawad Ahmed helped United bounce back in the contest as he trapped Sohail LBW and that dismissal paved the way for Hafeez’s return to the pavilion in the 15th over when he pulled Hasan’s slower delivery into Asif Ali’s hands at deep square-leg.
David, however, maintained his calm in the crucial moments and scored a handy 23 not out off 15.
Sohail maintained the trend of fielding first after winning the toss and Qalandars were provided an excellent start by Australian pacer James Faulkner as he accounted for a batsman each in his first three overs in the powerplay that left Islamabad United reeling at 43 for three.
Qalandars could have had the first wicket in the opening over when Usman Khawaja chipped Shaheen Shah Afridi’s length delivery to mid-off but it was put down by Haris Rauf. That missed opportunity, however, did not bother Qalandars as Faulkner bowled Colin Munro in the next over after being smashed for a four and a six.
In his next over – the fourth of the innings – he had Rohail Nazir caught in covers and made the United captain miscue a slower delivery to be held by his counterpart at mid-off in the last powerplay over.
The left-arm pacer finished with three wickets for 32 from four overs.
Faulkner was also involved in the fourth dismissal as he caught Usman at deep third-man when the Australian top-order batsman cut Rauf in the seventh over.
A 22-run partnership between Iftikhar Ahmed and Talat ensued. It was broken by young pacer Ahmed Daniyal, who took two wickets in the match, in the 12th over as United lost half of their batting lineup for 72.
The pressure continued to mount on the batting side thanks to Rashid’s leg-spin. The Afghan leg-spinner accounted for Talat in the next over after Iftikhar’s wicket.