Destructive Delport, fantastic Faheem guide Islamabad to play-offs in HBL PSL

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South African Cameron Delport hammered the fastest century in the history of HBL PSL off just 49 balls and Faheem Ashraf grabbed six wickets to steer Islamabad United to the play-offs during their 49-run rout of Lahore Qalandars in Karachi on Saturday.

The return of HBL PSL to Karachi could not have been more rousing as Islamabad batsmen made the homecoming of the 2019 edition truly memorable.

Delport smashed an unbeaten 60-ball 117 to propel Islamabad to 238-3 — highest total in all HBL PSL —  in 20 overs at a near-packed 32,000 capacity National Stadium.

Pacer Faheem Ashraf then chipped in with 6-19 — the second best figures in all HBL PSL behind Karachi’s Ravi Bopara (6-16 vs Lahore at Sharjah in 2016) —  as Lahore were restricted to 189-9 in 20 overs.

Besides the fastest hundred performance, there were a plethora of records that were broken. Islamabad’s total is now the highest in all HBL PSL, ironically beating Lahore’s own 204 they made against Multan Sultans at Sharjah this year.

Islamabad hit a total of 16 sixes — the most in an HBL PSL teams innings — as Asif also joined the party equaling Kamran Akmal’s record of fastest to 50-run mark ( 17 balls), during his 21-ball 55 not out.

It was a hero-to-zero situation for Lahore fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi who conceded 62 runs in his four overs after dismissing Luke Ronchi off the first ball of the match.

The win — Islamabad’s fifth in ten games — gave them third place while the defeat leaves Lahore in a difficult situation as they need to beat Multan Sultans by a big margin on Sunday and hope Karachi Kings lose both their remaining round matches.

Lahore have six points from nine games while Karachi have eight points from eight. Quetta Gladiators are on top of the table with 14 points from nine matches. Peshawar Zalmi are second with 12 points in nine while Multan Sultans are out of play-off contention, with just four points in nine matches.

Lahore also tried to match Islamabad’s run riot but apart from Sohail Akhtar (34-ball 75 with five sixes and eight fours) and  Fakhar Zaman (20-ball 38 with three sixes and four boundaries) the innings fell apart.

Sohail added 54 for the fifth-wicket with David Wiese (12) but Faheem struck at regular intervals, with wickets of Zaman, Anton Devcich (18), Haris Sohail (nought), Sohail, Salman Agha (three) and Shaheen Afridi (one) to end Lahore’s fight.

Delport said he was happy to contribute in the win.

“I struggled a bit in earlier matches so it was nice to score in the much needed win,” said Delport. “I tried to play straight and it paid off. It was my first time in Karachi and the atmosphere was electrifying.”

Islamabad skipper Mohammad Sami credited batsmen for the win.

“We lost Ronchi off the first ball but then Delport and Asif batted superbly and the total was great,” said Sami. “Faheem bowled so well and got us the win.”

Lahore captain Fakhar was disappointed in the loss.

“Credit to Islamabad batsmen who put up a challenging total and we used all our plans in bowling but nothing came off today,” said Fakhar.

It was Delport all the way when Islamabad batted after being sent into bat.

Delport steadied the innings after the shock of Ronchi’s dismissal as he added 32 for the second-wicket with Phil Salt (10) and a had a brilliant alliance of 128 with Chadwick Walton who made 30-ball 48 with four sixes and two boundaries. The real impetus came during Delport’s fourth-wicket stand of 88 with Asif that came off just 37 balls.

Delport reached his fifty — second this season — off just 23 balls, lifting Islamabad to 100 in just 9.5 overs.

Delport reached his 100 with a six off Sandeep Lamichanne, fifth of the HBL PSL history.  Peshawar’s Kamran Akmal ( 2017 and 2018) has two hundreds while Islamabad’s Sharjeel Khan (2016) and Karachi’s Colin Ingram (2019) previously reached three figures.

Sharjeel and Ingram reached their hundreds off 50 balls.

Islamabad, who knocked 135 in the last ten overs, were super charged in the last five overs which yielded a whopping 80 runs. Lamichanne was hit for four sixes in the 16th over (three by Delport and one by Asif) while Shaheen’s 16th over had one six and a boundary.

In all eight sixes and as many boundaries were hit in the last five overs, leaving a hapless Lahore attack into submission.

Table toppers Quetta Gladiators will face Karachi Kings in the only match on Sunday.

Islamabad United beat Lahore Qalandars by 49 runs in HBL PSL

Brief Scores:

Islamabad United 238-3 in 20 overs (C. Delport 117 not out, Asif Ali 55 not out)

Lahore Qalandars 189-9 in 20 overs (Sohail Akhtar 75; Faheem Ashraf 6-19)

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