The Pakistan Super League (PSL) came to life with a last ball thriller that saw a Saeed Ajmal inspired Islamabad United claim a first win in their encounter against Karachi Kings.
Rumours that Saeed Ajmal was a spent force were quashed as his spin provided the impetus Islamabad desperately needed.
After two opening defeats the pre-tournament favourites were eager to get their PSL campaign on the rails and Ajmal took a wicket with his first ball and then took two more in his final over as Karachi Kings quest for the 133 they needed to win was halted.
Karachi needed 16 off the last over and when Usama Mir was run out off the first ball it looked like the game was in United’s bag. The ball had been deemed a wide, but with six balls still remaining there was only one wicket left to take.
Mohammad Amir squeezed the next ball to the third-man boundary before missing the next. Sam Billings took the fourth ball behind the stumps and shied at the wickets as the batsmen scrambled a run, but his direct hit failed to dislodge the bails. Ravi Bopara cracked the penultimate ball for six but couldn’t claim the boundary off the last to secure an unlikely win.
Ajmal had James Vince leg before as Karachi found themselves 3 for two in the fourth over. He returned to bowl the 15th over and accounted for the dangerous Shakib al Hasan (20) when he lofted a catch to deep-square and the Saifullah Bangash first ball to see Karachi 87 for seven with five overs remaining.
46 runs were needed from 30 balls and hope rested with Bopara (32 from 19) , who had earlier claimed 2-25, but his shoulders slumped in the middle when he failed to middle the final ball and United celebrated around him.
Islamabad had earlier lost five wickets for 19 runs. Sharjeel Khan (28) and Khalid Latif (39) had forced the early pace after the loss of Watson, but the middle-order faltered until Mohammad Sami’s nine-ball 20 ultimately proved the difference.
Islamabad United 132 for 8 (Latif 39, Sharjeel 28, Bopara 2-25) beat Karachi Kings 130 for 9 (Bopara 32*, Ajmal 3-27) by two runs.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
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