Lahore Qalandars 160 for 4 (Roy 60*, Umar Akmal 35) beat Islamabad United 158 for 7 (Misbah 61, Elliott 4-23) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Lahore Qalandars demonstrated that they had learned plenty of lessons from yesterday's demoralising loss to Quetta, beating Islamabad United by six wickets. Chasing 159, slightly under par, Lahore received a trigger-boost courtesy Brendon McCullum and Jason Roy, who smashed 36 off the first two overs. Roy, often criticised for not turning style into substance, then established a 71-run partnership with Umar Akmal to set Lahore up for the finish, and stayed unbeaten on 60. A late cameo from Sunil Narine then snuffed Islamabad out of the contest.
The defending champions started ominously, and had raced to 73 for 1 after nine overs. Grant Elliott dismissed openers Dwayne Smith and Sam Billings in his first over. He accounted for two more wickets and a catch to halt Islamabad's progress. Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain, rose to the occasion in a crisis, scoring 61 not out off 36 balls as Islamabad posted 158 for 7. The surface, however, was a belter and Lahore's batsmen were far too explosive for Misbah's men to keep them at bay.
Where the match was won
With Billings and Smith rocking along at 73 without loss, and Brad Haddin and Shane Watson to follow, Islamabad looked to be in the form of the kind that helped them chase down 190 two nights ago against Peshawar Zalmi. Enter Elliott and the game changed. The medium pacer accounted for all four foreign recruits; his nagging, middle-stump line didn't allow Islamabad's batsmen to free their arms, and setting up a total that would have been significantly more challenging for McCullum's side.
The men that won it
On Friday, Roy looked in sparkling touch for the 14 balls that fetched him 27. The platform was set, but he threw it away. Today, though, he hung around after McCullum fell, turning in a much more sedate, yet tenacious batting performance, not dissimilar to the way his England captain Eoin Morgan batted in Peshawar's seven-wicket win last night. Umar Akmal was lively at the other end, timing the ball beautifully in a 26-ball 35 to set the stage for Narine's fireworks at the finish.
The 21-run overs
Islamabad's 34-year old left-arm spinner Imran Khalid, who has never played at international level, was given a baptism of fire today when Misbah asked him to open the bowling in the Powerplay with Roy and McCullum at the crease. It was an odd choice, and poor Khalid was evidently nervous; he bowled two wides and both line and length were all over the place. McCullum took a particular liking to him, thumping him for 21 runs in the over. It set Qalandar's up for the chase. There was symmetry to the Lahore assault, with Watson also going for 21 runs in the 17th over, which put the game beyond all doubt.
The moment of the match
There was a shot played in this match you might have to wait a while to see again, even in this T20 age. As Lahore's Bilawal Bhatti came in to bowl, Billings looked set to play a scoop over fine leg. Wisely enough, Bilawal went wide outside off stump. Billings followed, holding his bat straight out in front of his chest. It was miles away when he tried to play the long-awaited scoop. The ball instead hit his helmet, and went to third man for four leg-byes. Who would be a bowler, really?
Where they stand
Islamabad and Lahore now both have one win and one loss from their games, and two points each. Four of the five sides now sit on that number, with Karachi yet to register a win.