Peshawar Zalmi 176 for 6 (Kamran Akmal 53, Tamim 39, Hafeez 30*, Smith 30, Faheem 2-37) beat Islamabad United 142 for 9 (Faheem 54*, Umaid 4-23, Ibtisam 3-20) by 34 runs
Islamabad United's tactic of bowling first backfired as defending champions Peshawar Zalmi mounted a strong total and let their bowlers run amok. It was a 33-year-old fast bowler, on PSL debut, who carved open the heart of Islamabad's batting and helped his team banish memories of their defeat to Multan Sultans. Umaid Asif picked up two wickets each in his first two overs to remove Chadwick Walton, Luke Ronchi, Asif Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed and reduce Islamabad to 25 for 4 in four overs. Their innings descended into a permanent freefall as wickets at regular intervals saw them finish 34 runs short.
Umaid, who finished with 4 for 23, could have had a five-for had Tamim Iqbal held on to Faheem Ashraf's catch at third man off the last ball of his spell. Peshawar's catching otherwise was impeccable, with Mohammad Hafeez and Ibtisam Sheikh showing remarkable composure in latching onto swirlers to dismiss Asif Ali and Shadab Khan respectively. Ibtisam, the 19-year-old bespectacled legspinner, also produced a polished performance to return figures of 3 for 20. Faheem's unbeaten 30-ball 54 was Islamabad's lone bright spot on the evening.
That Peshawar captain Darren Sammy and his bowlers could launch an all-out attack right from the outset was thanks to a cracking batting show led by Kamran Akmal. Akmal's clear-the-leg-and-whack approach meant not only a rush of boundaries but also a disoriented Islamabad attack. His assault also helped Tamim Iqbal slip under the radar and knock the ball around as Peshawar scored 57 in the Powerplay. After Akmal was out in the eight over, with 46 of his 53 runs having come in boundaries, Sammy persisted with the aggressive route and promoted Dwayne Smith ahead of Mohammad Hafeez. Despite slowing down markedly after being 100 for 1 in 10 overs, Peshawar's positivity eventually paid dividends. Comeback man Andre Russell had a forgettable night, finishing with figures of 1 for 37 from three overs before contributing only 11 with the bat.
Where the match was won
While the contributions of the Islamabad top order can't be overstated, the game was swung irreversibly in their direction by the bowlers upfront. Peshawar, missing the services of their injured captain Misbah-ul-Haq, lost four wickets inside the Powerplay to score a meagre 38 runs, and in due course slumped to 73 for 8 to lose whatever grip they had on the match. Umaid's penetrating bowling early on was as responsible for the slide as some poor shot selection that led to the departure of no less than three top-order batsmen.
The men that won it
Over the years, Akmal has acquired a notoriety for his inconsistency with the bat and gloves. Despite scoring a duck in the previous game, Akmal laid into the Islamabad bowling right from the start. The frontal attack caught the bowlers off guard and invariably set things up the rest of the batsmen. Umaid had exactly the same effect with the ball, as he collected scalps with regularity to rattle Islamabad.
Moment of the match
Russell made a belated appearance with the bat when he came in at No. 8. Not long after his arrival, Chris Jordan sent down a sharp bouncer that rushed Russell. Harried and having taken his eyes off the ball, Russell ducked and involuntarily thrust out his bat like a periscope. The ball caught the edge and flew over the slip cordon to the fence. At once, both Samit Patel at the non-striker's end and Sammy cracked up even as Russell could only manage a faint smile.
Where they stand
The win takes Peshawar to third on the points table, while Islamabad are on fifth, ahead of Lahore Qalandars.