A 39-ball 73 from 39-year old Brad Haddin steered Islamabad United to a remarkable seven-wicket win in the opening match of the Pakistan Super League against Peshawar Zalmi at the Dubai International Stadium. For large parts of the game, that result looked extremely unlikely, never more so than during a 122-run partnership – the second-largest for any wicket in the brief history of the PSL – for Peshawar between Dawid Malan and Kamran Akmal, who scored a brilliant 88, with the stand coming as it did in just 68 balls. At that stage, Darren Sammy’s men looked set for a total well in excess of 200, but Islamabad made regular inroads into the batting thereafter, and even a late surge from Chris Jordan couldn’t get Peshawar past 190.
Islamabad’s chase started off disastrously as the impressive quick Hasan Ali trapped Sharjeel Khan in front in just the second over. However, they followed up with a quality partnership of their own. Haddin and Dwayne Smith – who was Man of the Match for Islamabad in the 2016 PSL Final – added 104 runs in 70 balls either side of a rain delay in Dubai, you read that right, to keep Islamabad in the hunt. Haddin’s fellow Australian Shane Watson – who also took four wickets – then applied the finishing touches, spanking Junaid Khan for 19 in the penultimate over to take the defending champions over the line.