Fakhar and bowlers delivered Islamabad United their worst-ever PSL loss
If Lahore Qalandars’ humiliating victory over Islamabad United in their second meeting this season seemed like an aberration, Qalandars gave them another one just for good measure.
United were disposed of with disrespect in Rawalpindi by 119 runs in an imposing performance that confirmed their status as the favorites to win this championship. It is the most severe defeat handed out to a team in PSL history.
Their impressive total, 226 (the Qalandars’ second-highest score), was made possible by Fakhar Zaman 115 in the first innings. Yet, a chase felt extremely plausible as Quetta Gladiators sought out an even greater score the previous evening.
The legendary batting order of Islamabad was destroyed by the Qalandars’ bowlers, who fluttered them out for 107 runs. In the end, Fakhar’s individual score exceeded Islamabad’s total final score, marking PSL first.
Lahore’s brave choice to bat first, especially after 240 for Peshawar Zalmi the night before, showed their confidence in their bowlers, even on a surface like this.
But things got off to a rough start when Abdullah Shafique managed to squeeze down leg in the first over. Fakhar Zaman was dropped by Asif Ali when he was one on one, which was a crucial play even that early in the game.
Following a few tight overs, Fakhar smacked three boundaries off Fazalhaq Farooqi before piling up 16 runs in Faheem Ashraf’s first over. Fakhar was delighted to cause damage despite Kamran Ghulam’s struggles with rhythm on the other end. Turning over the strike was all he needed to do. As a result of the power play, Lahore had increased to 65 points.
Yet, they persisted because they understood they needed a huge total to defeat United’s batting order. In a crucial exchange in the match, Fakhar destroyed Shadab Khan while Ghulam came to life against Mubasir Khan. On a play where 49 runs were scored off of just 14 balls and the run rate soared, Fakhar maintained his assault on the United skipper.
After Mohammad Wasim dismissed Ghulam, United defeated the Qalandars and temporarily threatened to maintain the target of 200. Fakhar was revived after escaping a razor-thin lbw call after HawkEye determined that a delivery that crashed into the stumps had pitched just outside leg.
In the 16th over, he and Sam Billings destroyed Wasim for 20 runs, which caused United’s death bowling to collapse. He raised the hundred in that over, and Lahore assisted themselves to 72 in the final five with a burst of boundaries.
On a Pindi surface that has helped batters to the amount it has this week, the idea almost seems silly now, but at the time, the game wasn’t finished. After respectfully surviving Shaheen Afridi’s first over, the United machine got going and scored 27 runs in the next two overs.
With the wicket of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, whom he had teased throughout the over before finally putting him out of his misery with a short ball, Zaman Khan gave the Qalandars the upper hand. Colin Munro’s innings came to an end with a full delivery shaping away, and Rashid Khan took over.
Before responding with a top edge that again easily eliminated the United captain, Shadab Khan blasted him for a six. As wickets started to fall in groups, David Wiese quickly removed Alex Hales when he mishandled a slice straight at the wicketkeeper.
Azam Khan, the middle order hero and own keeper for Islamabad United, was sidelined due to a finger injury sustained during the opening innings. Those are large shoes to fill in this kind of form because the lower middle order is totally unprepared to face bowling of this calibre.
A magnificent Rashid Khan delivery to Mubasir Khan, creeping in around the middle and whooshing through the outside edge to trim the outside off stump, highlighted this talent. Faheem Ashraf was pinned in front and already facing a certain Islamabad beating.
After eliminating Asif Ali, Rashid added a fourth wicket and finished with 4-21 on a pitch that had shown to be a paradise for all other batters.
For Islamabad to secure a top-two finish, Haris Rauf took the final two wickets on a discouraging evening at home. Both of these teams will advance to the playoffs, but based on the data at hand, the difference between them is huge.