Watch: Islamabad United crashed out of the 2023 Pakistan Super League today (March 16) despite Alex Hales and Sohaib Maqsood fifties, losing 5-26 in a late innings collapse.

The first Eliminator in this year’s competition served up a scintillating contest between Islamabad and Peshawar Zalmi in Lahore. With Islamabad chasing 184 after Babar Azam scored yet another half-century, they were going well having lost just one wicket by the end of the 14th over. Hales and Maqsood were still out in the middle and they needed an achievable 56 from 36 balls to secure their place in tomorrow’s second Eliminator.

But, when Aamer Jamal came onto bowl, carnage unfolded. He dismissed Maqsood with his first delivery of the 15th over, flattening both his middle and off-stump as Maqsood went for a wild swing. In an ominous prediction for Islamabad, Nick Knight said on commentary: “Now is that the moment that’s just going to ignite something really special from Zalmi?”

After seeing out the rest of Jamal’s over in which he clocked in at speeds of up to 93mph, Salman Irshad came onto bowl the next. He struck a crucial blow by dismissing the dangerous Azam Khan with a wide-of-leg-stump yorker. Beaten for pace having brought his bat down way too late, the ball deflected from Khan’s pads onto his stumps. A fired-up Peshawar Zalmi side celebrated in the field with the momentum turning towards them.

The 17th over, however, was where Islamabad’s chase completely fell apart. With Aamer Jamal back on to bowl, he castled Hales with his first delivery. He bowled a perfect middle stump yorker which Hales misread completely, the ball clattering into the base of middle stump. With the ‘in’ batter back in the dugout, Jamal had changed the game.

A proper collapse wouldn’t be complete without a run out, however, and Islamabad delivered in the same over. After Jamal followed Colin Munro as he backed away to the leg-side, the ball hit him on the pads and trickled down the pitch in front of him. Faheem Ashraf, having hit a four from his first ball, was already halfway down the pitch at the non-striker’s end and slipped as he turned when Munro sent him back. Ending up on the floor, Jamal had plenty of time to pick up the ball and throw down the stumps, leaving Faheem stranded.

After a wicketless over next up, the collapse was completed when Munro was bowled by Salman Irshan in the 19th. From 128-1 and needing only 56 runs to win at the start of the 14th, Islamabad had fallen to 154-6 in the 19th needing 30 from nine.

They finished on 171-6, 13 runs short of their target. While Islamabad are now eliminated from the competition, Peshawar Zalmi will join Lahore Qalandars tomorrow to decide who will join Multan Sultans in the final, set to take place on Saturday.