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Dominant Islamabad Annihilates Multan To Clinch Thriller By Two Wickets  

image-leyn1zu6Islamabad United (Source: Twitter)

Exceptional Faheem Ashraf’s enterprising innings of 51* helped Islamabad United pull off the highest successful run chase in the tournament's history against Multan Sultans on Tuesday, March 7.

Masood, David propel Multan to a daunting total

Put into bat first, the ever-reliable opening pair of Sultans- Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood once again laid a solid foundation as the duo accumulated 57 runs in the first powerplay, with Rizwan being the aggressor. 

The partnership started to look threatening before Islamabad skipper Shadab Khan came to bowl in the seventh over and dismissed the opposition skipper Rizwan on 33 runs.

Rilee Rossouw couldn't stay for too long as Shadab struck again in his third over to draw the second blood for his side as he removed in-form Multan batter cheaply for just 15. In-walked Tim David at number 4 and he proved to be the right ally for Masood, who was going steadily at one end. While Masood was slow and steady, David wasted no little time before launching an all-out attack against the Islamabad bowlers. 

Right from the point when David arrived, Islamabad bowlers were under pressure. Masood went after Mohammad Wasim Jr and smashed three boundaries to put pressure back on Multan.

The right-left pair forged a match-defining third wicket and added 80 runs in just 38 deliveries. Faheem Ashraf broke the third wicket stand by dismissing Masood for 50. David didn't hold himself back and continued to attack the opposition bowlers. 

He fell in the last over of the innings after scoring a brisk 60 off a mere 27 balls, hitting four boundaries and five sixes. Before he was dismissed, the damage was already done as Multan ended with 205/5 on the board in the allotted 20 overs.

Faheem scripts a historic finish for Islamabad 

Chasing a mammoth total, Islamabad dealt an early blow with their star opener Alex Hales getting out on a single-digit score. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who looked set for a big one, got out to Anwar Ali. In-form Munro had a good look at the pitch before he unleashed himself. He smashed 20 runs in the last over of the powerplay as Islamabad ended at 54/2 after 6 overs

Anwar Ali was the star with the ball in the powerplay as he conceded only 21 runs while picking 2 wickets in 3 overs. Munro's aggressive intent kept the required run rate in check. Skipper Shadab Khan, who came at 4, complemented the Kiwi international well. Against the run of play, Munro was castled by Usama Mir in the 10th over. 

At the halfway mark. Islamabad United were close to where Multan were at the same point in time but have lost more wickets in comparison. Soon after, they were jolted by the loss of Azam Khan. Faheem Ashraf arrived and tried to steady the ship with Shadab. 

In the 15th over, Multan's strike-bowler Ihsanullah struck a major blow as he got the prize scalp of Shadab for 44. Abbas Afridi and Ihsanullah struck in quick succession to bring their team back into the contest. Both of them enjoyed the last phase as they picked up two wickets each. However, only one man was standing between them and the victory line and that was Faheem. 

Mohammad Wasim Jr played a small but important cameo before he was undone by Anwar in the penultimate over. Islamabad needed 18 runs in the final over with Faheem on strike. And with the kind of form Faheem showed with the bat this season, he never thought it was out of reach. Faheem's belief in his skill made the impossible possible. 

Faheem top-scored for United with an unbeaten 51 in just 26 balls, hitting five boundaries and two sixes. The all-rounder not only won the game for his team but also chased down 18 in the final over, a record never achieved by any side before in PSL.

Brief Scores:

Multan Sultans: 205/5 (20 overs)

Shan Masood 75 (50), Tim David 60 (27);
Shadab Khan 2/26 (4 overs), Mohammad Wasim Jr. 2/48 (4 overs)

Islamabad United: 209/8 (19.5 overs)

Faheem Ashraf: 51*(26), Shadab Khan 44 (25);
Anwar Ali 3/33 (4), Ihsanullah 2/35 (4)

Islamabad United won by 2 wickets