PakistanSports

Islamabad United register clinical six-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi

In what can comfortably qualify as the most lopsided match of the HBL Pakistan Super League 8 to date, Islamabad United defeated Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets – thanks to Rahmanullah Gurbaz’s blazing 62 and Hasan Ali’s scorching three for 35 – at the National Bank Cricket Arena on Thursday night.

Islamabad United had to chase 157 and they did so with 31 balls spare. Gurbaz launched fireworks right from the beginning and brought up his half-century inside the Powerplay off just 24 balls as Islamabad United were 80 for one by the end of six overs.

Gurbaz spanked seven fours and four sixes in an exciting 31-ball knock and thrashed the Peshawar Zalmi bowlers all around the dial. His knock came to an end in the eighth over when he was deceived by Usman Qadir – whom he had smashed for three fours in an over in the Powerplay – but the match had pretty much settled in Islamabad United’s favour by then.

Rassie van der Dussen (42 off 29) smashed Usman for back-to-back fours at the end of the eighth to ensure his side retained the momentum and Asif Ali launched the leg-spinner for two massive sixes off consecutive balls at the end of the 12th as Islamabad United continued their smooth sail towards the target. Van der Dussen fell to Wahab Riaz at the end of the 13th but there weren’t any further hiccups and Azam Khan took Islamabad United over the line with a six over midwicket on the penultimate ball of the 15th.

Peshawar Zalmi crashed and burned after a sensational Powerplay as a consolidated bowling performance from Islamabad United – in which Hasan, playing his maiden HBL PSL 8 match, stood out – dragged them back into the game. After the pair of Mohammad Haris and Babar Azam accumulated 69 in six, Peshawar Zalmi could only manage 87 in the next 14.

Shadab Khan, the Islamabad United skipper, was the first to provide the breakthrough when he caught and bowled Haris (40 off 21) in the seventh over and Mubasir Khan bowled Saim Ayub in the next. The highlight of the innings, however, was the double strike in the 10th over, courtesy Hasan Ali.

Playing his maiden HBL PSL 8 contest, Hasan bowled outstandingly and ripped apart Peshawar Zalmi’s middle order. He bowled Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Rovman Powell with sizzling reverse-swingers that dipped in the two right-handers in what was a brilliant comeback after getting crunched for 17 in the second over of the innings. The right-arm pacer accounted for Jimmy Neesham in his next over as Peshawar Zalmi sank to 99 for five in 12 overs.

Babar Azam held his end and made a fighting 75 not out off 58 – his 25th HBL PSL half-century – but failed to get the support from the other end as his side ended their innings at 156 for eight.

As Mubasir and Shadab, Rumman Raees and Faheem Ashraf also picked up a wicket each.

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