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Watson, Haddin get Islamabad United to winning start

Shane Watson picked four wickets and scored unbeaten 26 as well
Shane Watson picked four wickets and scored unbeaten 26 as well

Islamabad United 175-3 (Haddin 73) beat
Peshawar Zalmi 190-9 (Akmal 88) by seven wickets D/L method
First match, Pakistan Super League, Dubai

Brad Haddin and Dwayne Smith scored fluent fifties while Shane Watson contributed with a four-wicket haul as Islamabad United started their title defence in Pakistan Super League with a seven-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi in the first game of the tournament in Dubai.

Islamabad won the toss and opted to field first. The start of the game was delayed by few minutes due to a sightscreen problem.

In the very first delivery, Mohammad Irfan (2-27) had Mohammad Hafeez (0) caught at second slip. However, Kamran Akmal (88) and Dawid Malan (43) smashed five boundaries and two sixes between them to bring their 50-run stand and also ending the powerplay on a high.

With two more sixes and a boundary, Akmal reached a 29-ball fifty and as Malan upped the ante with two more maximums, Peshawar Zalmi were 102 for one at the halfway mark.

Akmal launched into Amad Butt (0-25) in the 12th over as the Zalmis scored 18 runs in it. The 122-run stand finally came to an end when Malan pulled a Watson (4-44) delivery to deep midwicket.

From here on, Peshawar Zalmi lost their way completely and could manage only 65 runs in the final eight overs losing seven wickets and were reduced to 190 for nine in the 20 overs. Eoin Morgan (1), Darren Sammy (7) and Shahid Afridi (4) were also among those, who failed.

Dwayne Smith (43) started the innings with a couple of boundaries but Islamabad United lost Sharjeel Khan (1) at the other end, trapped LBW by Hasan Ali (1-33).

With boundaries from Smith and Haddin (88), Islamabad United reached 43 for one at the end of powerplay. With two more sixes and a boundary, the duo completed a fine 50-run stand in eighth over and two overs later, rain delayed proceedings by 10 minutes.

The game was reduced by two overs and Islamabad United had a new target of 173 runs in 18 overs.

With a six to deep midwicket in the 12th over, Haddin reached a 30-ball 50 and in the next over, he plundered 17 runs off Junaid Khan (1-52). His 39-ball knock was ended by Chris Jordan (1-39), who forced an edge to the keeper.

Smith, who went with just run-a-ball started to take the charge and reached his half-century off 45 balls. Even though, Junaid Khan managed to snare Smith, a 13-ball unbeaten cameo from Watson (26 not out) sealed the game for Islamabad United with Haddin bagging the player of the match.

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