Bowlers, Smith haul Islamabad to last-ball win
Opening batsman Dwayne Smith anchored Islamabad United's chase with an unbeaten 72 to help secure a last-ball five-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi at Sharjah
Islamabad United 137 for 5 (Smith 72*, Watson 30) beat Peshawar Zalmi 136 for 9 (Morgan 28, Sami 3-26) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In a nutshell
Islamabad United scraped to a win on the final ball of the contest against Peshawar Zalmi after having strolled through most of the chase. With all eleven men in the circle for the final ball, little-known Amad Butt managed to dig out a yorker from Junaid Khan back down the ground to beat a desperate leap from Chris Jordan at mid-on, giving his side a much-needed five-wicket win.
This was a match in stark contrast to the run-fest Sharjah had witnessed a few hours earlier but no less thrilling for it. There wasn't much to be said about the Peshawar innings, with disciplined bowling from Mohammad Irfan and Rumman Raees in the Powerplay not allowing the batsmen get a foothold. The trend continued in the middle overs, as Eoin Morgan, Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal all got starts, but none went on to make a meaningful contribution. A pair of loose overs in the 16th by Shane Watson and 18th by Mohammad Sami brought 41 runs to push the run rate past 6. But an outstanding last two from Raees and Sami went for a total of four runs to keep Peshawar to an under-par 136.
The second innings was characterised by excellent bowling in spells but wretched fielding throughout and Darren Sammy's men were often architects of their own downfall. Hasan Ali was impressive with the ball but comically dropped Dwayne Smith, the leading scorer in the tournament, on the boundary with the batsman on 44 in the 14th over and Sammy palmed a slog from Smith over the long-off rope in the 19th to all but seal Peshawar's fate. Peshawar were all over the place with their death bowling, and the two points Islamabad gain were thanks in no small part to the errors of their opposition.
Where the match was lost
Junaid had not been impressive in his first two overs but the nadir was reached in a horror 17th over. Islamabad still needed 38 from four but an 18-run over from Junaid, which included one no-ball, two wides and two sixes, could not have come at a worse time. Junaid kept trying to bowl wide yorkers and some of them were so wide they might have been in a different post code. The straighter ones wound up being waist-high full tosses and disappeared into the stands.
The men that won it
Much has been made of Smith's strike-rate and not nearly enough about his ability to hang around and score big runs in tense chases. Smith took his time to settle in, scoring only 8 off his first 18 balls, but made good on yet another start and regularly chipped in with crucial boundaries whenever the asking rate threatened to get out of hand. Crucially, he was still there in the middle when the last ball was bowled, on 71 off 58 balls, as he watched Amad strike the final blow to deliver a victory he had helped sculpt.
The efforts of the bowlers on either side deserve acknowledgement. They saw over 400 runs scored on this very pitch just hours earlier and refused to be daunted. Raees was at his accurate best, encapsulated in a superb 19th over, mixing fast yorkers with slower deliveries in an over that cost only two runs.
From Peshawar, Hasan opened the attack with a classically elegant over, maintaining an off-stump line as the ball seamed away to beat Smith's bat multiple times. In his following over, Hasan swung the ball back into the right-hander at times, one of which was far too good for Brad Haddin, who was plumb in front when the ball came back and crashed into his pads.
Moment of the match
"Boom Boom Afridi" now seems more like a smart marketing slogan than a pithy reference to the 36-year-old's batting temperament, but in one Mohammad Sami over late in Peshawar's innings, the Sharjah crowd got what it came for. Coming in at number eight, Shahid Afridi flicked Sami for over deep square leg for six and the Sharjah crowd began to find its voice.
Sami, who was otherwise brilliant - he won Man of the Match for a reason - then bowled a ball that Afridi was able to get under and the former Pakistan captain launched him out of the ground. He was only to make one run thereafter but pandemonium had been sparked in the stands and Afridi had done what every fan turning up, however cynical, secretly wishes him to do yet one more time.
Where they stand
Islamabad United move to second on the table with six points after the win, one behind leaders Quetta Gladiators. Peshawar Zalmi have five points and are placed third.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000