Islamabad United batsman Usman Khawaja celebrates after scoring a century against Peshawar Zalmi in their PSL match on Thursday. Supplied
Usman Khawaja’s first century in the PSL and three wickets from Akif Javed guided Islamabad United to a thrilling 15-run win over Peshawar Zalmi at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Thursday.
After being asked to bat first, United posted 247 for two – the highest T20 score at the venue and in the PSL history. It is also the highest score in any domestic Pakistan T20 tournament beating 243 set by Karachi Dolphins against Lahore Eagles in 2010.
Usman, who was leading the team in the absence of Shadab Khan, opened the batting with Colin Munro, and the two left-handers provided a solid 98-run partnership for the first wicket off just 59 balls.
Munro (48 off 28) struck five fours and two sixes before getting out to Shoaib Malik’s off spin on the penultimate ball of the tenth over.
Asif Ali contributed a quick-fire 43 off 14, which included five towering sixes and two fours. He knitted a 47-run partnership for the second-wicket with Usman.
Brandon King joined Usman at 145 for two in the 13th over. The pair played shots all around the ground, and contributed an unbeaten 102 runs off just 43 balls for the third-wicket partnership.
Australian international Usman playing his first season of HBL PSL, brought up his hundred off just 53 balls and became the first captain to post a hundred in the tournament. He smashed 13 fours and three sixes and remained unbeaten on 105 off 56. His partner, the right-handed West Indies international King scored 22-ball 46, smashing five fours and three sixes.
In reply, half centuries from Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik went in vain as Zalmi remained 15 runs short of the mammoth target.
Shoaib top-scored with a 36-ball 68, hitting six fours and three sixes. Kamran (53 off 32, seven fours, two sixes) put up a 53-run stand for the third-wicket with Shoaib.
Sherfane Rutherford (29 off eight) played a cameo, as he struck four sixes off Zafar Gohar’s over – 14th of the innings – the second most expensive over in the history of PSL.
That Zalmi were able to cross 200 was due to late onslaught from Wahab Riaz (28 not out off 15, one four, two sixes) and Umaid Asif (20 not out off nine, two fours, one six). The pair contributed 47 runs for the seventh-wicket partnership.
Left-arm pacer Akif took three for 43 for United, while Hussain Talat picked two wickets. This match produced the highest aggregate score in HBL PSL history.
Earlier on Wednesday, Shan Masood’s superb 42-ball 73 followed by a disciplined bowling performance from Multan Sultans inflicted a heavy 110-run defeat on Quetta Gladiators in the 25th fixture of the PSL. This defeat confirmed an end to Gladiators’ race for a playoff berth.
The left-handed opener smashed seven fours and four sixes and dominated the Gladiators bowlers after their captain Sarfaraz Ahmed decided to bowl.
Shan scripted a handsome 72-run opening stand with his captain Mohammad Rizwan, who made 23-ball 21, and later knitted 37 runs with Johnson Charles, who hammered 47 runs at almost two runs-a-ball.
The West Indies international struck five fours and two sixes in his 24-ball innings before he became pacer Khurram Shahzad’s second wicket.
Khurram delivered the first blow in the ninth over when Rizwan played on the right-armer. Sohaib Maqsood, who came into the match in prime form, could not spend much time at the crease as he was bowled by Zahir Khan in the next over, but the middle-order batsman took a fantastic diving catch at deep point to seal the win for his team.
Gladiators – rolled out for a paltry 73 in 12.1 overs – stuttered in the run chase from the word go and they lost three batsmen in the first six overs. Imran Khan Snr’s double-strikes in the fourth over sent dangerous looking Jake Weatherald and Cameron Delport back to the pavilion. Opener Usman Khan had a mix-up with his captain in the last powerplay over and he was run out at the non-striker’s end.