Lahore Qalandars 121 all out (Salman 48, McCullum 34) tied Islamabad United 121 for 9 (JP Duminy 34, Yasir 3-20)
Islamabad win via Super Over
In a nutshell
Last night's billing for the contest between Peshawar and Quetta as the game of the tournament looks horribly premature now. In a T20 contest that had more ebbs and flows than most Test matches, Islamabad United edged out Lahore Qalandars, after dragging them, against all logic, into a Super Over - the first in the PSL's history. Chasing 16 in the Super Over, Andre Russell smashed 10 off the last two balls off the hapless Mustafizur Rehman, the six to seal it cruelly going over Brendon McCullum's head at long on to put his side on the brink of elimination.
This was a match that highlighted how low Lahore Qalandars' confidence had dipped after beginning this season with three losses. If ever a game was set up to be a stroll to kick things off, it was this for Lahore, requiring just 45 off 52 balls with eight wickets in hand. But there was a sense of unease to it, as Agha Salman, who scored what then seemed a match-winning 48 - holed out to fine leg. As McCullum hung on, playing an uncharacteristic knock that began as sensible but ended up with him having lost all rhythm, it increasingly began to look like he was the man that stood between Lahore and another implosion. After he was run out in the final over, it looked like Lahore had indeed blown it, before an unlikely six by debutant Salman Irshad took them to a Super Over. Victory, however, was still elusive.
Islamabad began poorly, with Lahore's decision to open the bowling with Fakhar Zaman proving inspired. He struck in the first over, and it wasn't until Hussain Talat - batting far too low at number eight - came in that the innings picked up any momentum. He smashed an unbeaten 33 off 21 to ensure they crossed 120, with every run worth its weight in gold a couple of hours down the line.
Where the match was won
Simply put, in the head. With the Qalandars needing 45 off 52 balls with eight wickets in hand, this game didn't look like becoming the classic it ended up being. But from the moment Agha Salman was dismissed, jitters began to sweep through the Qalandars. Their lack of batting depth was a concern, exacerbated by everyone that came in after failing to so much as reach double figures. The run rate slowly began to creep up and the pressure on McCullum grew, with Lahore struggling to put the game to bed whenever opportunities arose. Before you knew it, Lahore were eight down with seven required off the final over. It should never have come to this.
The men that won it
Hussain Talat gave Islamabad a total to defend, but from thereon, Mohammad Sami and Andre Russell took over. Sami was superb during his four-over spell, targeting the stumps at pace, not allowing McCullum to free his arms. It was particularly impressive since Sami's is exactly the kind of bowling that McCullum thrives against. What was more, Sami found his lengths in the Super Over, where, even though he conceded 15, it was a score they could chase down. That was thanks to Russell, who, back from a year out, still remembered how to hold his nerve under pressure to clear long-on and nick the game off the final delivery.
McCullum may go down as the pioneering captain of the T20 generation, but did he balk at a big decision in the Super Over? Sunil Narine had conceded 10 runs in his four overs while Mustafizur, usually exceptional, had an off day, giving away 39 in his allotment. It appeared straightforward who to hand the ball to for the Super Over, but McCullum, perhaps - just perhaps - didn't fancy a spinner up against Russell. He gave the ball to Mustafizur, who didn't quite find his lengths, wasn't brave enough to attempt the yorker, and bowled a wide off the fourth delivery. Maybe that's overanalysing it, but Lahore, having lost all four of their games and on a six-run losing streak overall, should expect some of that from the media and their exigent fans.
Where they stand
Lahore are firmly at the bottom of the pile, with no wins or points from four games. Islamabad United have 4 points, joint with Peshawar and Quetta. Karachi and Multan occupy the top two slots after their game was washed out today with 7 and 5 points respectively.