By Shahid Hashmi
Paceman Mohammad Sami defended five runs in the last over as Islamabad snatched a proverbial victory from the jaws of defeat by a mere one run over Quetta Gladiators in Dubai on Friday.
Quetta needed 17 off the last three overs after Kevin Pietersen’s 43-ball 69 and Ahmed Shahzad scored a 51-ball 59 in a stand of 113 for the second wicket but all hell broke lose as Islamabad staged a remarkable fightback.
Sami beat Anwar Ali off the first two deliveries before a single brought Rilee Rossouw on strike.
The South African left-hander also missed one ball and then tried to steal a second which saw Ali run out at the non-striker’s end.
Rossouw managed a single off the final delivery which sent Islamabad players in to frenzy as victory meant they had eight points from seven games.
Having already qualified for the play-offs, Quetta kept their march towards the title with another domineering display in all three departments till the last over changed the course of the match.
Quetta have now lost two matches and with four wins and one no result they have ten points.
Shahzad smashed five boundaries and a six to follow up his half century in the last match against Karachi Kings on Thursday while Pietersen — who had three noughts in the event — knocked three sixes and six fours.
When Pietersen became a victim to a shocking leg-before decision by umpire Ahsan Raza and a run later Shahzad holed out, Quetta needed just 17 for victory, a formality which turned out to be their undoing.
Karachi Kings meet Lahore in the first match on Saturday and Lahore’s win will see them through and their opponents out of the event. Peshawar Zalmi meets Quetta in the second match.
Earlier, 20-year-old Hussain Talat, playing his first match in the PSL, steadied Islamabad to 165-6 with an impressive 39-ball 56 with six boundaries and two sixes. The talented left-hander added 60 with Rafatullah Mohmand who made 17.
Shane Watson gave the much needed impetus to the innings with a whirlwind 16-ball 29 with two sixes and as many fours. Veterans Misbah-ul-Haq made 25 and Brad Haddin 22.
But in the end Islamabad’s total proved insufficient. They now have a last match against karachi on Sunday.
Earlier in the day Lahore also squandered a chance to reach the play-offs as they lost to Peshawar by 17 runs.