Faheem’s heroics deny Sultans playoff berth as United prevail

RAWALPINDI: Faheem Ashraf’s astounding 51-run knock barred Multan Sultans from qualifying for the playoff as Islamabad United pulled off the second-highest successful run chase of Pakistan Super League (PSL) history.

Set to chase the second-highest total in the league’s history, United witnessed valuable efforts from their skipper Shadab Khan and all-rounder Faheem to seal an astounding victory by two wickets and a ball to spare.

Earlier, the two-time champions were off to a dismal start to the pursuit as the hosts lost their in-form opener Alex Hales (1) for a combined score of 17 runs in the third over.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz continued charging on the Sultans’ bowlers with his brief cameo of 14-ball 25 before Anwar Ali struck again for the visitors.

Following back-to-back setbacks, skipper Shadab joined hands with in-form Colin Munro and stitched a crucial partnership for the third wicket and added 59 runs.

Munro appeared on song to score another half-century but Usama Mir castled the explosive batter to roar back his side’s comeback in the run chase. He scored 40 in just 21 balls with the help of four boundaries and three sixes.

The home side then dealt a major blow as their another in-form batter Azam Khan (3) perished cheaply as Usama struck again in his next over.

With their side in heaps of trouble, Faheem joined Shadab in the middle and put on an anchoring 39-run partnership for the fifth wicket before the latter fell victim to Ihsanullah.

Shadab scored a brisk 25-ball 44, smashing three boundaries and as many sixes.

The United then began to lose wickets at regular intervals and eventually slipped to 187/8 in the 19th over before needing 18 runs in the final over with Faheem on strike.

The all-rounder held his nerves calm in the final over and powered United to an astonishing victory as he chased down the target for his side with a ball to spare, hitting three boundaries and a six.

Faheem top-scored for United with an unbeaten 51 in just 26 balls, hitting five boundaries and two sixes.

Anwar led the bowling attack for the Sultans with 3/33 while Ihsanullah and Usama bagged two wickets each. Abbas Afridi, on the other hand, struck out a batter.

Put into bat first, the Sultans piled a massive total on the board at the back of fantastic knocks by Masood and David.

Earlier, the dependable opening pair of Sultans once again laid a solid foundation as the duo accumulated 57 runs in the first powerplay.

United’s skipper Shadab Khan, however, struck on the first delivery of his spell to break the crucial partnership as he got rid of the danger man Mohammad Rizwan, who scored a brisk 18-ball 33, hitting a boundary and three sixes.

Shadab then struck again in his third over to draw second success for his side as he removed in-form Rilee Rossouw cheaply for just 15.

Following the slump, David joined Masood in the middle and wasted no time launching an onslaught on the United’s bowlers. The pair stitched a match-defining third wicket and added 80 runs to the total in just 38 deliveries.

David was the core aggressor of the stand and soon brought up his half-century in just 20 deliveries after Faheem Ashraf broke the threatening stand by removing Shan.

The left-handed opener top-scored for the Sultans with a 50-ball 75, which featured 12 boundaries.

David continued charging on the United bowlers before falling to Mohammad Wasim Jr in the final over. He scored a brisk 60 off a mere 27 balls, hitting four boundaries and five sixes.

Meanwhile, Wasim Jr struck again and removed David Miller (11) on the final delivery of the last over to restrict Sultans to 205/5 in the allotted 20 overs.

Shadab and Wasim Jr led the bowling attack for the United with two wickets each, while Faheem could pick up a wicket.