All-round Shadab leads Islamabad United to victory over Peshawar Zalmi

Sensational all-round performance by Shadab Khan led Islamabad United to 29-run victory over Peshawar Zalmi in the 20th match of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) Season 9 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Monday night. 

Peshawar Zalmi's innings got off to a rocky start, with early wickets tumbling within the powerplay. Saim Ayub, Babar Azam, and Mohammad Haris were dismissed cheaply, leaving Zalmi reeling at 3-3. Despite a brief fightback led by Tom Kohler-Cadmore and a resilient stand by Paul Walter, it was Aamer Jamal's explosive 87 off 49 balls that became the highlight of Zalmi's batting effort.  

However, the mounting pressure from Islamabad United's bowlers, spearheaded by Shadab Khan himself, kept the run chase in check, restricting Peshawar Zalmi to 167-9. Shadab’s bowling figures of 3-41 from his four overs were instrumental in disrupting Zalmi's batting lineup. Hunain Shah and Rumman Raees also made significant contributions, taking two wickets apiece and maintaining tight lines to stifle Zalmi's run flow. 

Earlier, Islamabad United's captain Shadab Khan delivered a masterclass innings of 80 runs, steering his side to a formidable total of 196-4 against Peshawar Zalmi. Opting to bowl first, Peshawar Zalmi made an immediate impact with Saim Ayub dismissing Alex Hales on the very first delivery of the match. The early setback did little to deter Colin Munro, who responded with a quick six and a four in the following over. However, Ayub's persistence paid off, claiming Munro's wicket shortly after. 

Faced with a challenging situation at 28-2, Islamabad United's resilience was on full display as Shadab Khan, alongside Salman Ali Agha, mounted a recovery. The duo crafted a 65-run partnership, lifting the team's morale and scoreboard to 90 runs by the halfway mark. Although Salman Irshad managed to dismiss Agha for a valiant 37, the momentum firmly remained with Islamabad United. 

Shadab Khan, undeterred by the fall of wickets, found an able partner in Jordan Cox, and together they added 68 runs to the tally. Dominating the bowlers, Shadab’s innings was a spectacle, adorned with 10 boundaries, including six maximums, before Luke Wood finally halted his charge. 

In the final overs, Azam Khan's explosive 29 off just 14 deliveries, featuring four boundaries and a six, provided the perfect finish, pushing the score to an imposing 196-4. Jordan Cox, contributing a steady 26 not out, played a crucial role in ensuring the team's strong finish. Saim Ayub emerged as the most successful bowler for Peshawar Zalmi, capturing two wickets for 15 runs, with Luke Wood and Salman Irshad also making vital contributions.  

*SCORES IN BRIEF*
Islamabad United 194/4 (Shadab Khan 80, Agha Salman 37, Azam Khan 29*; Saim Ayub 2-15, Luke Wood 1-34, Salman Irshad 1-37) beat Peshawar Zalmi 167/9 (Aamer Jamal 87, Paul Walter 33; Shadab Khan 3-41, Hunain Shah 2-25, Rumman Raees 2-28) by 29 runs.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at azharmasood786@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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