Rashid Khan’s brilliant all-round performance earned Lahore Qalandars a last-ball five-wicket win over Islamabad United as the Pakistan Super League resumed after more than three months on Wednesday due to COVID-19.
The PSL was suspended in March after several players and support staff tested positive for COVID-19 in a bio-secure bubble in Karachi and the league was finally shifted to Abu Dhabi for the remaining 20 games.
Khan, the world’s top-ranked Twenty20 bowler, took 1-9 off his baffling four overs to restrict Islamabad to 143-9. Australian left-arm fast bowler James Faulkner (3-32) had earlier polished off the top order in his four-over spell upfront.
Fast bowler Hasan Ali (2-27) brought Islamabad back into the match with the key wickets of Mohammad Hafeez (29) and Ben Dunk (17) which left Lahore with a stiff target of 16 runs off the last over.
But Khan smashed Hussain Talat for three successive boundaries and scored 15 off the first five balls as Tim David (23 not out) got Lahore home – 144-5 — with a single off the last delivery.
Islamabad captain Shadab Khan chose Talat ahead of him for the last over and said he thought the wicket suited seamers more than the spinners, but the ploy didn’t work out.
Earlier, after being put in to bat, Faulkner claimed three wickets in his first three overs as he bowled power-hitter Colin Munro (11) off his fifth delivery after Lahore had won the toss and opted to field.
Faulkner also had his countryman Usman Khawaja caught at third man as the left-hander struggled to score 18 off 17 balls in his debut PSL game.
Islamabad struggled at 109-8 in the 17th over, before Pakistan international Faheem Ashraf smashed 27 off 24 balls which propelled the total.
By the halfway mark of the league stage, Lahore sits at the top of the points table with eight points from five games while Lahore is at No. 4 with six points.
In a double-header on Thursday, second-placed Karachi Kings will take on Multan Sultans and Lahore will meet Peshawar Zalmi. Quetta Gladiators, lurching at the bottom of the table with only two points will resume its campaign on Friday with a game against Islamabad.
The final is set for June 24.