In what was a reminisce of New Zealand’s famous world cup semi-final victory over South Africa at Auckland in 2015, Lahore Qalandars’ Kiwi import Grant Elliot struck Mohammad Sami for a six on the second ball of the last over to seal the thriller against Islamabad United.
Qalandars needed six off the last over with two wickets in hand and Aamer Yamin edged Sami’s brutal short-length delivery into short fine-leg’s hands. He, however, had rotated ends with Elliot before Dwayne Smith executed the catch.
Many had thought Elliot would rely on bunts and ground strokes to complete the chase, but the 37-year-old got himself in the position even before Sami had entered the stride and launched his good-length delivery for a six over long-on.
With the six, he took Qalandars from the bottom of the points table to the second spot.
The thrilling pursuit would not have been a possibility had Umar Akmal not scored his first PSL2 fifty. Coming into bat when his team lost both openers in the powerplay, Akmal weathered the storm.
Islamabad United’s bowlers had strangled the batting side for the most part of the chase, leaking only 54 runs in the first 10 overs, and, more importantly, taking four wickets.
Umar Akmal poses with his man-of-the-match award. — PSL
Akmal broke the shackles on the last ball of the ninth over by dancing down the wicket and clearing the cover fielder for a four. He plundered 15 runs off Amad Butt two overs later to revive the chase.
From there onwards, the 26-year-old kept finding boundaries on regular occasions before falling to Shadab’s googly. In an erroneous anticipating Akmal planted his frontfoot on a ball that spun sharply into him and struck his pads. The middle-order batsman was adjudged LBW in the 17th over, leaving the match open for grabs.
Sunil Narine ensured Qalandars’ domination by striking the 18-year-old leggie for two back to back sixes on the next two balls before being wrongly given LBW in the penultimate over.
Earlier, United had lost half of their line-up by the 13th over at a total of 79 after being put into bat. Shadab’s heroics with the bat led United to a defensible total as the right-hander made 42 runs in 24 balls – hitting two 4s and three 6s. His 2 for 28 in four overs, coupled with Ruman Raees' three wickets at 8.6 had made a strong case for United, but Qalandars sneaked out in the end.