Defending champs Islamabad United send a clear message to opponents Faizan Lakhani
DUBAI: Carrying forward the momentum of previous season, the defending champions Islamabad United kicked off the campaign of their title defense with an encouraging win of 7 wickets against the star-studded team Peshawar Zalmi.
Islamabad, who won the five consecutive matches last season on way to win the title, reached the revised target of 173 runs in 18 overs with two balls to spare, thanks to the team’s foreigners trio of Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and Dwayne Smith.
Led by Pakistan’s Test captain Misbah ul Haq, Islamabad United remained defiant in the match and never lost the hope despite heroic innings of 48-ball-88 by Kamran Akmal and restricted Peshawar from scoring more runs as Sammy’s team was once looking comfortable and was predicted to be scoring over 200 runs.
But, Watson’s aggressive bowling, supported by Mohammad Sami’s disciplined performance towards end gave a clear message that Islamabad’s bowling would not get panicked even if you smash them all over the ground.
Islamabad showcased their do-not-lose-hope strategy in batting too when they lost the opener Sharjeel Khan in the second over with only 14 runs on the board. Sharjeel could score only one run.
But, after Sharjeel’s departure, Smith and Haddin took the charge and provided Islamabad United a solid base to sail towards the target comfortably, which was later anchored by Shane Watson with his quick-fire 26.
This do-not-lose-hope strategy is not new for Islamabad United team, it was also reflected in the team’s campaign in the first season when they were outperformed in initial matches, but yet they came back and came back hardly to win the title in 2016.
Surely, guidance of Wasim Akram, the one-and-only “Bhai of Cricket” as Islamabad United refer to him, has helped the IU team keep this approach, but the captain cool Misbah ul Haq also deserves the credit for keeping the calmness even in tensed situation of the game which allows him to take wise decisions.
With the calm approach of do-not-lose-hope, the Islamabad United team –with a remarkable win in the opening match – has given a clear message to the opponents that this team is not going to accept the defeat unless they are finally defeated. So, don’t be complacent while playing against Islamabad, even if you have a big total on board to defend.
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