PSL 2019: Liam Dawson the hero with last-ball boundary to give Peshawar Zalmi victory over Islamabad United
Englishman celebrates his birthday in style with unbeaten half-century to inspire his side in Dubai clash
The first game of the last night of Pakistan Super League cricket in Dubai for this season ended in a classic climax on Friday as Liam Dawson hit a boundary off the last ball to win it for Peshawar Zalmi against Islamabad United.
It was quite the way for the Englishman to celebrate his 29th birthday. After he and captain Daren Sammy had whittled down the 14 they required off the final over to needing one last boundary off the final ball, Dawson proved up to the task.
He drove Mohammed Sami, the Islamabad captain, straight back past him for four, and charged off towards his teammates to celebrate a four-wicket win.
“I was pretty nervous before I batted, and up until the final ball as well,” Dawson said.
“You try and back your training, you try your best, and thankfully tonight it came off. They bowled pretty well the last five overs, their wide yorkers were good.
“In the back of my mind, I was thinking should I try and sweep. I decided to stand still, and it came off. It might not come off another night, but thankfully it did this time.”
Cameron Delport had ended a miserable run with the bat by top scoring with 71 for Islamabad, as the champions posted 176 from their 20 overs.
It might have been more. Remarkably, Islamabad lost five wickets off the final seven balls of their innings, which included three run outs, each while attempting to steal a bye to Kamran Akmal, the Peshawar wicketkeeper.
As it was, it represented a tough chase, especially after Peshawar had struggled to 84 for five by the time Kieron Pollard was out midway through the 12th over.
That left them requiring 93 from 51 balls. Sammy made 40 from 29 balls, in a fine partnership with Dawson.
When the big West Indian captain took strike in the final over, it was difficult to tell whether the crowd were roaring “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy,” or “Sami, Sami, Sami”.
Even though Sammy fell to the penultimate ball – coincidentally, run out while attempting to steal a bye – he did enough, most significantly when he hit his opposite number into the Royal Box when 10 were needed with three balls left.
That left Dawson in position to do the business off the final ball, and he duly obliged, reaching 52 in the process.
“At the toss I said we always have good games together,” Sammy said of the rivalry between the only two sides to have won PSL titles to date.
“In the last three games, including the final last year, they have always gotten the better of us, so it was good to get over the line. It was very close, but it was an exciting game of cricket.”
Dean Jones, the Islamabad coach, was loath to criticise his side for being defeated in a last-ball finish. He did, though, point to two no-balls as being decisive.
Faheem Ashraf was hit for six by Dawson off one ball that was above waist height. The ensuing free hit also went into the second tier, meaning that one ball essentially cost 13 runs.
Later, the same bowler overstepped, and Sammy, who had been caught, was reprieved.
“It was a terrific game of cricket, probably what the competition needed as well – another nail-biter like that,” Jones said.
“You can look at certain moments. A couple of no balls don’t help. If guys keep pressing the line, that is what happens.
“But they had to bring their A-plus game, and they brought it, unfortunately.”
Updated: March 1, 2019 08:35 PM