RAWALPINDI - Saad Ali played out of his skin to help Islamabad sneak narrow victory against Faisalabad in the Brighto Paints Present Cool & Cool National T-20 Cup 2017-18, played here at Pindi Stadium Saturday.

With Islamabad needed 8 for victory with 4 wickets in hand, Taj Wali removed Umar Gul and set batsman Saad Ali to give Faisalabad some hope. But tall and lanky fast bowler M Irfan kept his cool and scored three runs on two deliveries to take Islamabad home by two wickets. Taj Wali and Adil Amin were declared joint man of the match recipients. Saad Ali made 52 hitting 3 fours and 2 sixes Taj Wali took 3 for 30, Yasir Shah 2 for 29.

Islamabad got off to decent start in their pursuit of 171 runs for victory. Shan Masood was batting extremely well while Adil Amin was also looking dangerous with the willow as well. Shan played a wayward delivery, which deflected onto his stump. He scored 32. Adil was caught behind after scoring 35.

Earlier, Faisalabad skipper Saeed Ajmal won the toss against Islamabad and for the very first time in the event decided to bat first on a perfect afternoon. Once again ground staff did a fantastic job and ensured matches start in time. Last night too heavy clouds were threatening and there was lot of dew, but curator Riaz and his staff were up to the mark. For the first time, every participating team is full of praise for preparing such supporting tracks, which are helping both batsmen and bowlers.

Faisalabad could have posted a massive total as men in form, Sahibzada Farhan and Sohaib Maqsood were at their level best. Both were punishing bowlers at will. Islamabad had made four changes to the squad, which lost against Peshawar in the last match. Hassan Ali, Shoaib Malik, Ali Sarfraz and Shahzad Azam Rana make way for Umar Gul, Rahat Ali, Saad Ali and Adil Amin. Shoaib and Hassan left to play BPL. Once again, Islamabad Region don’t bother to include the highest scorer local lad Faizan Riaz, as he doesn’t have any influential behind is back, which is a must when it comes to representing Islamabad Region.

Both Farhan and Sohaib left the scene, when they were hitting the ball at will. They were particularly very severe on Rahat Ali, who looked completely hapless. Sahibzada made 43and Sohaib contributed 38 in 22 balls. As soon as both departed, Faisalabad could only score 170-7. Khurram Shahzad played a brisk innings of 37. Adil Amin picked 4 for 27, M Irfan 2 for 22 and Umar Gul 1 for 30.

Earlier, Ali Shaifq snatched victory for Lahore Blues from the jaws of defeat against Peshawar with his match-winning last over. Peshawar were well-placed to clinch the encounter as they required 7 runs in the final over with 2 wickets in hand and set batsman Naved Yasin at the crease. But moment of sheer madness deprived Peshawar from routine victory as first Waqas Maqsood played a highly causal stroke and was caught behind. Adnan Akmal took a splendid diving catch while on the very next delivery Imran Khan Senior was cleaned up by Ali to give Lahore Blue highly sensational 3 runs victory. Peshawar must kick themselves for throwing away the match.

Lahore Blue were given solid platform by Test discarded Ahmed Shahzad, who scored a brilliant 50, consuming just 22 deliveries. Hussian Talat as usual was playing wonderfully well, but like witnessed in the previous matches, he simply gifted his wicket, while attempting to play a cross and the ball uprooted his middle stump. He made 37 in 29 balls. Skipper M Hafeez made 30 in as many deliveries while Imam-ul-Haq contributed 19 as Lahore posted 173-6. Waqas Maqsood was the pick of the Peshawar bowlers claiming 3 for 23. Kashif Bhatti also chipped in with 2 for 30 and Sohail Khan 1 for 30.

Peshawar chasing a decent target were bowled out for 170 in 19.5 overs. Naved Yasin played out his heart and almost take Peshawar home with his scintillating unbeaten knock of 62 in 44 deliveries. Riffatullah Mohmand finally returned to scoring as he made 40 and Israrullah 26. Ali Shafiq took 3 for 21. Aizaz Cheema captured 3 for 45 and Salman Ali Agha 2 for 29. Ahmed Shahzad and Ali Shafiq were jointly named players of the match.