Shadab Khan followed up his magical spell of bowling with a stupendous knock as Islamabad United narrowly edged their way across the finishing line in a riveting contest against Lahore Qalandars.
Islamabad’s last pair of Ahmed Safi Abdullah and Muhammad Musa held their nerve to stitch a brilliant 20-run stand to knock off the winning runs amidst the chaotic run chase.
The match swung frantically swung from one side to the other with Qalandars bottling several chances in an abysmal show in the field.
Costly errors including Usman Shinwari’s wicket of half-centurion Shadab off a no-ball and Samit Patel’s drop of Asif Ali were further compounded by wayward lines and lengths as the sloppy Qalandars were left ruing their mistakes.
Earlier, Qalandars rode on the pyrotechnics from the bat of the veteran Mohammad Hafeez, who smashed the highest individual score for his team in the competition’s history.
Hafeez set up a stunning exhibition of pristine striking as he amassed an unbeaten 98 laced with seven maximums in his 57-ball stay at the crease.
Among United’s bowlers, only Shadab was able to pull back the scoring rate by employing subtle variations.
Islamabad’s pursuit of the 183-run target was plagued with the loss of both openers in the first two overs.
Soon, Shadab settled in and blasted glorious hits before left-arm speedster Shaheen Afridi returned in the middle overs to dent the opposition with a flurry of wickets.
Shaheen ended with figures of 4-18 but was on the receiving end of timely blows from No. 11 Musa in the 18th over of the chase.
Musa stood tall against an erratic Shinwari in the final over by nailing a terrific pull shot that just evaded the fingertips of Shaheen at deep midwicket.
He then pinched a single, getting his team home with one ball to spare as he was drowned in a sea of embraces from his celebrating teammates.