In a climactic showdown that kept fans on the edge of their seats, Islamabad United etched their name in the annals of cricket history by securing their third Pakistan Super League (PSL) championship. On the electrifying evening of March 18, 2024, the red-clad warriors faced an arduous battle against the steadfast Multan Sultans in a riveting final in Karachi which concluded in a final ball frenzy.

This win not only thrust Islamabad United to the pinnacle of PSL success but also marked their first championship triumph since 2018. As the last ball sealed the fate of the match, the United emerged victorious by a slender two-wicket margin, breaking the hearts of the Sultans who suffered their third consecutive loss in a final. Amid the euphoria and celebration, this victory held a special significance as it heralded the first title under the guidance of head coach Mike Hesson, previously known for his association with Royal Challengers Bangalore as their Director of Cricket.

The final unfolded as a testament to the brilliance of Imad Wasim, whose performance was a spectacle to behold. Demonstrating prowess worthy of international recall, the former Pakistan all-rounder made an indelible impact with both his potent bowling and level-headed batting. He kickstarted his magic by claiming two vital wickets in his first over, sending shockwaves through the Sultans’ top order. Despite the resilience of skipper Mohammad Rizwan and the season’s standout batsman Usman Khan, Wasim’s bowling assault proved overpowering. Rizwan’s brief stint at the crease ended at 26 runs, and the Sultans’ hopes began to wane.

The downward spiral for the Sultans persisted as Islamabad United’s captain Shadab Khan claimed his counterpart, while other potential partnerships crumbled under the relentless pressure exerted by United’s bowlers. Usman’s lone battle yielded a half-century but was insufficient to fortify the Sultans’ position as they lost four batsmen for a meager collection of 12 runs—one of which contributed to Wasim’s remarkable five-wicket haul, the best bowling figures ever recorded in a PSL final.

What loomed as a modest total turned around with the experience of Iftikhar Ahmed, who steered the Sultans to a defendable score of 159. In response, Islamabad United’s chase faced upheaval during the powerplay, with early wickets falling. However, the ship was steadied by Martin Guptill’s prowess and Azam Khan’s continued stellar form, setting the stage for a fourth-wicket partnership that reignited United’s momentum. Guptill’s formidable half-century set the tempo, though his dismissal alongside Azam’s left the match delicately poised.

Once again, the spotlight turned to Imad Wasim to pilot his team’s chase. His calm and calculated approach provided the anchor that United needed amidst falling wickets. It was the young Naseem Shah who rose to the occasion with a timely six and critical boundaries, propelling United towards the finish line. The winning touch, fittingly, came from Hunain, Naseem’s sibling, who ensured the journey culminated in a final over nail-biter.

The game, hanging in the balance until the very last delivery, encapsulated the sheer unpredictability and drama that makes cricket an enthralling spectator sport. As the winning runs were scored, Islamabad United not only clinched their third PSL title but also reasserted their dominance in the league’s burgeoning legacy.

By IPL Agent

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