Kieron Pollard’s swashbuckling half-century was not enough to stop Islamabad United qualify for the play-offs of the Pakistan Super League as they beat Multan Sultans by 33 runs in a highly charged match in Sharjah on Tuesday.
Pollard smashed a cracking 47-ball 73 with six towering sixes and five boundaries but the asking rate soared so high that he fell in the penultimate over by Mohammad Sami to end his team’s resistance at 152 in 19.1 overs after setting a daunting target of 186.
Luke Ronchi hit a 36-ball 58 to steer Islamabad United to 185-4 after they were sent into bat by Multan Sultans on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch. The win helps Islamabad become the first team to qualify for the last four with 12 points in eight matches.
Pollard fought a lone battle as Multan needed 81 off the last five overs. He lost a valuable partner in Sohail Tanvir (ten) in the 16th over but still managed to reduce the target to 67 in four. Pollard then smashed two sixes and Umar Gul one off Ammad Butt’s over.
But Sami had the last laugh as he had Pollard caught in the deep with 43 still needed for a win. Patel, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan and Ammad Butt all got two wickets apiece.
Multan had lost half of their side in the first ten overs for just 50, as none of their top order batsmen could stay longer. Their start was disastrous as in-form Kumar Sangakkara hoisted Samit Patel’s first ball of the innings to the boundary where Alex Hales held the catch.
Next ball, Patel had Saif Badar leg before wicket before Ahmed Shehzad was trapped leg before in the fourth over, leaving Multan tottering at 20-3. Sohaib Maqsood promised more with two boundaries but delivered only 13 while Shoaib Malik was bowled by Shadab Khan for 13.
Islamabad’s innings revolved around Ronchi’s half-century and brisk knocks from Alex Hales (32–ball 47) and Hussain Talat (21-ball 36). Ronchi had put 46 for the first wicket with Jean-Paul Duminy who made only eight. Another 45 runs were added for the second wicket between Ronchi and Hales before Ronchi was bowled by leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
Hales and Talat put 36 for the third wicket. Hales smashed five boundaries and two sixes while Talat had four boundaries and a six. Asif Ali (17 not out) and Faheem Ashraf (13 not out) ensured 59 were added in the last five overs.
Multan’s best bowler was Umar Gul who finished with 2-26 in his ten overs while Ros Whiteley conceded 45 in his three overs.
Quetta Gladiators will take on Lahore Qalandars in the only match on Wednesday.