SHARJAH - Sensational Russell snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for Islamabad United in the Super over against hapless Lahore Qalandars in 12th match of the Pakistan Super League played here at Sharjah Stadium late Friday night.

Russell hit a last-ball six off Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman to clinch a thriller for Islamabad United in Super Over. Three runs were needed off the last ball of the Super Over and Russell plonked a slower delivery from the left-armer straight over long on. The regular match had ended in a tie as United fast bowler Mohammad Sami took two wickets in the last over of Lahore's chase of 121 for nine to finish off Lahore on the same score. Lahore lost their last eight wickets for 44 runs.

The match was pushed to super over by debutant Salman Irshad who hit Sami for a six to level the scores but failed to finish the match as he was last man out on the very next ball.  Sami bowled the super over for Islamabad United and conceded 15 runs, which at one stage looked a comfortable one but Russel had other ideas in store as he took his frustration of bring run out with match-winning shots. He hit 10 of the last two deliveries of Mustafizur to push Qalandars almost at the brink of elimination. It was quite harsh for Qalandars owner Rana Fawad, who is not only a cricket lover but the most passionate and highly involved among all the six franchise owners and his long face was telling the entire story. It was really sad as majority of spectators, despite supporting United, were emotionally attached with Rana Fawad and were praying for Qalandars win in this particular tie.

It was same old story for Lahore, who won the toss and opted to field first in highly overcast conditions. United got off to worse possible start , as highly surprisingly McCullum opted to go with Fakhar Zaman, who hits the bull’s eye with a fantastic delivery, which signal the end of man-in-form Ronchi without troubling the scorers. It was dream debut for AJK wonder boy, Salman, who took the prize wicket of former Pakistan cricket team skipper Misbahul Haq, who gave a routine catch to wicketkeeper Ramdin.

United kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. Umpiring standard was once again highly questionable as on field umpires kept on making controversial decisions. Duminy was given LBW of the bowling of Yasir Shah but replays showed the ball pitched outside leg stump. Duminy top scored with 34. He hit 3 boundaries and 1 six. It was Hussian Talat, who really lifted the morals of United and gave some respectability to total as at one stage, it looked like United might not even score 100 runs. Despite having a number of hard hitters in their ranks, United kept on losing wickets through irresponsible shot selections and some poor running between the wickets and could score only 121 for the loss of 9 wickets., Hussian remained unbeaten after scoring 33 off 21 deliveries. His innings included one boundary and two sixes.

Yasir was the most successful among Qalandars bowlers with 3 for 20. Sohail Khan took 2 for 23 while AJK debutant Salman took 1 for 19 in his only two overs. The youngster showed he possesses lot of venom and could become an asset for Pakistan cricket in the times to come.

Qalandars head coach looks highly confused as first he kept on sending Narine to open the innings and in the must-win match, Umar Akmal, who is out of sort and completely out of form and highly low in confidence, was sent to open the innings and after scoring just 4 he was back in the pavilion. They lost Fakhar at same total as he once again flopped. It was expected that Qalandars management and coaching staff might use commonsense and Fakhar would be given the opening responsibility, but Qalandars coaches had other ideas. It was Agha Salman Ali, who almost single-handedly guided Qalandars home.

The match proved that Qalandars are very low in confidence as they required 45 runs off 52 deliveries with 8 wickets in hand and it should have been a cakewalk. But Salman got out after scoring 48 hitting 6 boundaries and 2 sixes and that led to another batting collapse. McCullum’s failure to finish off the match despite consuming 49 deliveries also raises question. Summit Patel took 3 for 17, Muhammad Sami also chipped in with 3 for 21 Sami was named player of the match.

It was pack to capacity crowd witnessed on Friday, as people from all walks of life came to witness Pakistan Super League, despite the early match between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultan’s match was washed out due to rain, crowd never gave up hope and remained in the stadium throughout the afternoon and evening. It was wonderful to witness such massive crowd, which added to the beauty of the game.

Misbah lauded his team’s fielding and said: “I am happy to see the way we fielded, that’s what brought the game back for us (when Lahore was cruising to victory at 77 for 2 chasing a target on 122). I think in T20 cricket you know that without fielding well you won’t be part of many teams, and it is good to see Pakistanis doing it well.”

Misbah said that it was a tough time before the super over. “A lot of thoughts were going through our minds before the super over. We thought Sunil Narine would be bowling it. I am happy that the guys we sent (out to bat) were the ones who had played well and we thought they would do it for us.”

Scoreboard

L Ronchi b Fakhar        0

Sahibzada Farhan c Narine b Sohail      6

JP Duminy lbw b Yasir 34

Misbahul Haq c Ramdin b Salman         4

S Patel c Narine b Yasir           9

Asif Ali b Yasir 16

A Russell run out          15

Hussain Talat not out    33

Faheem Ashraf c Narine b Sohail          0

Shadab Khan c Umar Akmal b Mustafizur       

M Sami not out 0

EXTRAS: (w3)            3

TOTAL: (9 wkts; 20 overs)      121

FOW: 1-0, 2-18, 3-29, 4-44, 5-69, 6-70, 7-107, 8-109, 9-119

BOWLING: Fakhar Zaman 2-0-10-1, Sohail Khan 4-0-23-2, SP Narine 4-0-10-0, Mustafizur Rahman 4-0-39-1, Yasir Shah 4-0-20-3, Salman Irshad 2-0-19-1

Umar Akmal lbw b Patel           4

B McCullum run out     34

Fakhar Zaman lbw b Patel        0

Agha Salman c Patel b Sami     48

D Ramdin c Ronchi b Sami       4

Sohail Akhtar c Farhan b Faheem         4

S Narine c Misbah b Russell     9

Sohail Khan c Asif b Shadab    0

Yasir Shah c Duminy b Patel     3

Salman Irshad c Asif b Sami     6

Mustafizur Rahman not out        0

EXTRAS: (b4, lb1, w4)            9

TOTAL: (all out; 19.4 overs)    121

FOW: 1-4, 2-4, 3-77, 4-81, 5-95, 6-105, 7-105, 8-114, 9-115, 10-121

BOWLING: S Patel 4-0-17-3, JP Duminy 3-0-17-0, M Sami 3.4-0-21-3, Shadab Khan 4-0-29-1, A Russell 4-0-22-1, Faheem Ashraf 1-0-10-1

TOSS: Lahore Qalandars

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: M Sami

UMPIRES: Ranmore Martinesz, Khalid Mahmood

TV UMPIRES: Ahmed Shahab

MATCH REFEREE: M Anees