Talat's cameo carries Islamabad home in low-scorer
Islamabad United 117 for 5 (Talat 48*, Tahir 3-19) beat Multan Sultans 113 (Malik 35, Raees 3-14) by five wickets
Not often, in T20s, does a Powerplay decide the direction of a game. When it does, it's almost always solely down to underfoot or overhead conditions. Under atypically overcast skies in Dubai, after a 25-minute delay due to light rain, Islamabad United's seamers capitalised on swinging conditions to leave Multan Sultans at 24 for 3 after the first six overs.
That period set the tone for the rest of the match. Multan weren't able to recover, eventually slumping to 113 all out in the final over. At one point during the 54-run fifth-wicket partnership between Shoaib Malik and Kieron Pollard, it seemed like Multan could muster a score they could defend in bowling-friendly conditions.
Imran Tahir gave them some hope with 3 for 19, but Hussain Talat snuffed that out with a sparkling innings, first steadying the chase before showing off his range with a 34-ball 48 that gave Islamabad their first win of the tournament.
Where the match was won
Islamabad's bowlers kept Multan to 24 for 3 in the Powerplay, but the next four overs damaged their hopes of a 120-plus score. Multan's batsmen took too long looking to consolidate, adding just 18 runs in four overs for the loss of Ahmed Shehzad. With a score at 42 for 4, even a bright cameo wouldn't have sufficed.
The men that won it
The conditions were skewed towards the fast bowlers so much that legspinner Shadab Khan was given only two overs. Islamabad's quicks didn't disappoint. Captain Rumman Raees and Mohammad Sami combined for figures of 7.5-0-33-5 to give their team a distinct edge. Steven Finn and Andre Russell also chipped in with three wickets between them.
But the most significant contribution was from Talat. At 63 for 5, Multan were buoyant, but Talat soaked up that pressure initially, before expanding his strokeplay to find the gaps. He finished with four fours and three sixes in his match-winning knock.
Moment of the match
In three innings in this season's PSL, Sohaib Maqsood has scored 26 runs, at an average of 8.67. That lack of confidence may have manifested into hesitation in the field. In the 10th over of Islamabad's chase, Talat clipped a delivery from Junaid Khan towards midwicket. He called his partner Asif Ali for a run before sending him back too late. Or so everyone thought. Maqsood picked up, ran towards the bowler's stumps, glanced at the batsman and missed an under-arm throw from a metre away.
Where they stand
Being the only team with two wins in the tournament, Multan retained their position at the top of the table. Islamabad stayed at fifth spot with one win in two games.
Nikhil Kalro is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo