KARACHI: Luke Ronchi v Kamran Akmal was billed as the deciding mini match-up in the PSL final. Kamran failed, but Ronchi continued showing the dazzling form that will be the trademark of this year’s PSL . His 26-ball 52 helping Islamabad United steer ahead and then overcome a proper collapse to their second title in three years.
Islamabad looked like romping home when Ronchi and Sahibzada Farhan put on 96 for the opening partnership in under nine overs, in chase of 155. But an extraordinary collapse resulted in them losing six for 20. All of a sudden, scoring a run became a gigantic task.
Then, a moment that will live in Kamran’s memory as a bitter rejoinder to a memorable PSL came when Asif Ali attempted an audacious – and immeasurably daft – pull shot off Umaid Asif with Islamabad needing 30 off 33 balls. Kamran raced almost towards fine leg in a desperate attempt to snare a catch he would have done better leaving to the outfielder. He misjudged it and let it through his gloves. Then Sameen Gul picked up the ball and threw it at the stumps, only to miss and concede four overthrows.
That sudden reprieve and the six runs to boot, released the tension in the warm Karachi air, and Peshawar were suddenly deflated again. Asif Ali smashed three sixes on the trot off Hasan Ali, while Faheem Ashraf hooked Wahab Riaz for six with just one required. Eventually Islamabad completed a win that – but for a chaotic 31 balls – had never appeared in any doubt.