Islamabad beats Multan in thrilling PSL final with last-ball boundary

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Islamabad United won the Pakistan Super League after beating Multan Sultans with a last-ball boundary in a thrilling final on Monday.

Tailender Hunain Shah came in to face the final ball after the dismissal of Naseem Shah and steered fast bowler Mohammad Ali's delivery through point to finish the nailbiter.

Multan was restricted to 159-9 on a spinners' paradise after Islamabad allrounder Imad Wasim grabbed 5-23 and captain Shadab Khan picked up 3-32.

“The sign of a good team is they win even without playing a perfect game,” said Shadab, who was named player of the league after scoring 305 runs and taking 14 wickets.

Islamabad's chase got a great start from opener Martin Guptill, stumbled in the middle, then got a great finish from Wasim, 19 not out, and Naseem, 17. Islamabad reached 163-8 to add to its titles in 2016 and 2018.

"To pick a five-for in a final and to stay in (batting) during a crucial game, it was a new experience,” Wasim said. “We should have finished the game earlier rather than taking it down to the wire. I'm glad Hunain finished it.”

It was heartbreaking for Multan, which lost last year’s final to Lahore Qalandars by one run. Playing its fourth consecutive final, Multan won the group stage and was the favorite in the final.

“The match goes to the last ball, you can’t really point out any flaw,” Multan skipper Mohammad Rizwan said.

“Credit to Imad for picking a five-for and scoring those crucial runs. There were a few ups and downs in the batting, but they played really well. Congratulations to Islamabad. It was fun to play tonight in front of a packed house.”

Islamabad gained momentum in the playoffs thanks mainly to Wasim’s brilliant all-round show.

Guptill hit a 30-ball 50 before he was run out in the 13th over at 102-4.

Multan kept coming back strongly through its spinners Khushdil Shah (2-21) and Iftikhar Ahmed (2-19). League leading wicket-taker Usama Mir, who finished with 23 wickets, dismissed dangerman Azam Khan on 30 in the death overs and, when Ahmed plucked a superb return catch off Faheem Ashraf at 129-7, Islamabad still needed 31 off the last 17 balls.

Naseem smashed a quickfire 17 off nine balls and Imad kept his cool to guide Islamabad to a sensational two-wicket win.

Earlier, Wasim wrecked Multan’s top order with the wickets of Yasir Khan and David Willey in his first over. In-form Usman Khan, who scored two centuries this season, revived Multan hopes with a gritty 57 off 40 balls before Wasim struck back in the middle overs by dismissing Johnson Charles.

Wasim capped his brilliant bowling by taking the wickets of Khushdil Shah and Chris Jordan in his final over.

Ahmed boosted Multan's total with a breezy 32 off 20 balls that included three sixes and three fours.


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