Usman Khawaja’s maiden century in the Pakistan Super League (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 (June 17). After being asked to bat first, United posted 247 for 2 – 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.
With this win, United further consolidate their position at the top of the PSL 2021 table with 14 points from nine games. Zalmi, on the other hand, have played all their 10 league matches and currently sit in second position with 10 points from as many matches. However, things could quickly change for them depending on the other results in the tournament.
Khawaja, 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 2 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.
Australian international Khawaja playing his first season of 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. 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 8) 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 HBL 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 3 for 43 for United, while Hussain Talat picked two wickets. This match produced the highest aggregate score in PSL history.
Islamabad United 247 for 2 in 20 overs (Usman Khawaja 105*, Colin Munro 48; Shoaib Malik 1 for 14) beat Peshawar Zalmi 232 for 6 in 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 68, Kamran Akmal 53; Akif Javed 3 for 43) by 15 runs.
Player of the Match: Usman Khawaja
(With inputs from PSL media release)
(Photo courtesy: PCB)