Islamabad United 175 for 3 (Haddin 73, Smith 55) beat Peshawar Zalmi 190 for 9 (Kamran Akmal 88, Watson 4-44) by seven wickets via D/L Method
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In a nutshell
A 39-ball 73 from 39-year old Brad Haddin steered Islamabad United to a remarkable seven-wicket win in the opening match of the Pakistan Super League against Peshawar Zalmi at the Dubai International Stadium. For large parts of the game, that result looked extremely unlikely, never more so than during a 122-run partnership - the second-largest for any wicket in the brief history of the PSL - for Peshawar between Dawid Malan and Kamran Akmal, who scored a brilliant 88, with the stand coming as it did in just 68 balls. At that stage, Darren Sammy's men looked set for a total well in excess of 200, but Islamabad made regular inroads into the batting thereafter, and even a late surge from Chris Jordan couldn't get Peshawar past 190.
Islamabad's chase started off disastrously as the impressive quick Hasan Ali trapped Sharjeel Khan in front in just the second over. However, they followed up with a quality partnership of their own. Haddin and Dwayne Smith - who was Man of the Match for Islamabad in the 2016 PSL Final - added 104 runs in 70 balls either side of a rain delay in Dubai, you read that right, to keep Islamabad in the hunt. Haddin's fellow Australian Shane Watson - who also took four wickets - then applied the finishing touches, spanking Junaid Khan for 19 in the penultimate over to take the defending champions over the line.
Where the match was won
Islamabad's position was most precarious immediately after the early departure of their destructive opener Sharjeel Khan. Chasing a target of 191, less experienced players might have panicked. But Haddin and Smith, boasting a combined age of 72, came together at just the right time to steady the ship for Islamabad. While Smith consolidated one end, Haddin let fly. This was no agricultural, run-of-the-mill T20 slog; a number of his boundaries came via exquisitely timed drives over cover and point. The pair complemented each other perfectly, ensuring Islamabad stayed in the game as long as possible to set Watson up for the final flurry that dealt Peshawar the knockout blow.
The men that won it
For a side that conceded 190, there were more solid bowling performances than one might expect. Islamabad United's new ball pair, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Sami, conceded 43 runs in eight overs, taking three wickets between them. It all started on the first delivery, Mohammad Hafeez poking outside off stump at an Irfan ball that was seaming away, gifting Sharjeel the easiest of catches at first slip. Sami conceded 7, 1, 2 and 6 runs off his four overs respectively, taking two wickets, including that off the sensational Akmal in the 16th over, which triggered Peshawar's ultimately decisive collapse.
The difference between the two sides was how they reacted after their century partnerships were broken. For Peshawar, the wheels came off the innings once the Akmal-Malan stand ended, the next 7.3 overs yielding just 49 runs. Islamabad, however, kept pushing on after Haddin's departure, a point at which the side still needed 55 to win off less than five overs. Smith was happy to play second fiddle to Watson as Misbah's men ultimately cut a giant total down to size.
The moment of the match
Smith won't grab any headlines from this match, yet Islamabad almost certainly couldn't have chased this total without him anchoring the innings from start to finish. It need not have been that way, though. In the third over, with Sharjeel already dismissed, Smith edged a full length delivery from Chris Jordan. Peshawar captain Sammy didn't have to move as the ball headed straight for him at first slip at knee height. Somehow he let the ball, and the contest, slip through his fingers.
Where they stand
Islamabad have managed to carry on where they left off last season, winning their sixth consecutive match in the PSL. They've hit the ground running, registering the first points available in this year's competition. Peshawar's defeat is their third consecutive loss going back to 2016, and the side has its work cut out if it is to emulate its feat from last year and top the PSL group stage table again.