New Delhi: Islamabad United rode on Hussain Talat's 48-run cameo in the middle-order to thump Multan Sultans by five wickets in a tense low-scoring encounter in the Pakistan Super League.
Having folded up the new entrants Multan on a below par 113, who won their first game against Darren Sammy-led Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad must have begun celebrating much before they walked in for the chase.
But little did they know that a target of 113 will turn into an uphill task as the slow and tricky Dubai International stadium pitch gave Multan every chance of a turnaround.
But thanks to Talat who kept his cool on a testing track and came up with a match-winning 48 to power his side to victory with 14 balls to spare. Besides Talat, the next highest score was of Caribbean Chadwick Walton's 28, as the rest of the batters struggled to cope with the conditions.
From Multan, Imran Tahir picked three wickets for 19 runs, ensuring Sultans stayed in the hunt until the end.
Earlier, a crucial 54-run stand between skipper Shoaib Malik and West Indian T20 star batsman Keiron Pollard helped Sultans cross hundred after tottering at 31/4.
Though the pair showed intent as they collected 54 runs in six overs compared to 31/4 in 8.2 overs, Pollard's dismissal at that juncture proved costly. While they had already witnessed a collapse at the top, another followed as soon as the partnership was broken.
For Islamabad, Pakistan pacers Rumman Raees and Mohammad Sami combined with the new ball to wreak havoc. Later, Andre Russell chipped in with two important wickets, that of Malik and Pollard, to strengthen Islamabad's cause despite leaking 30 runs in three overs.
Brief scores: Multan Sultans 113 all out in 19.5 overs (Shoaib Malik 35, Keiron Pollard 28, Rumman Raees 3/14, Mohammad Sami 2/19, Andre Russell 2/30) vs Islamabad United 117/5 in 17.4 overs (Hussain Talat 48 not out, Chadwick Walton 28, Imran Tahir 3/19)