RAWALPINDI        -            Shadab Khan’s sizzling 77 off 42 balls vaulted him into second place on the PSL top scorers list for 2020, but the Islamabad United captain’s knock was in vain as rain arrived with Peshawar Zalmi seven runs ahead of the DLS par score at the nine-over mark of their chase, taking the fizz out of what was shaping up to be an exciting game here on Saturday.

Khan partnered with the two Colin’s, Munro and Ingram, for a pair of half-century partnerships to set a target of 196 in what was an incredibly sloppy fielding performance by Zalmi. But in spite of five dropped chances, including two each off Khan and one apiece off Ingram and Munro, Zalmi’s bowlers managed to haul back the United innings with some brilliant death bowling.

A typically pugnacious start to the chase by Kamran Akmal (37 off 21) kept Zalmi well ahead of the DLS par score, even after both he and Imam-ul-Haq fell. Khan protested with the umpires when drizzle increased to the point that the covers were brought on with United 85 for 2, feeling that they could have played on though it was clear he making a hard sell knowing his side were behind on DLS.

The match had already been delayed 15 minutes at the start due to early afternoon rain and a wet outfield. After a further 55-minute delay, Zalmi were set a revised target which left them needing 21 off two more overs. But just as the players were about to take the field once again, the rain returned to cement Zalmi as winners on the day.

The wicket of Ingram to end a 76-run stand with Khan. United had been cruising at more than 10 an over throughout their innings, but Ingram couldn’t clear long-on trying to smash a Hasan Ali full toss. Liam Livingstone took the catch, which triggered a bizarre stalling of the innings.

Khan fell six balls later smashing a length ball from Wahab Riaz to Livingstone again; it was his third catch of the day. Rahat Ali then followed up by conceding just six runs in the final over, wrapping up a sequence in which United scored just 11 runs off the final 13 balls despite having seven wickets in hand. So, instead of sailing past 200, United finished with a comparatively gettable 195 for 5.

Though it came in a losing effort, Khan’s half-century - his third of the season to put him level with Munro - continued to build a very strong case for his ending up as Player of the Tournament. He is now joint-second on the PSL scoring chart alongside Akmal with 237 runs at 47.40 and a strike rate of 170.50.