Quetta dominate Islamabad once again as they move to the top of the table
Islamabad United were back in action after a dominant performance against Lahore Qalandars from the day before. Gladiators won the toss and chose to field, as Sharjeel Khan and Shane Watson came to open the innings for United, fresh from a record breaking partnership in the HBL PSL. Their partnership would end earlier this time around though, as Zulfiqar Babar took Sharjeel with a juicy full toss which went unpunished and landed safely in Akbar Ur Rehman’s hands in the fourth over. Watson got off to a flying start and it seemed he never left the pitch from the night before! He took on Muhammad Nawaz and smashed him for consecutive sixes, and in no time had taken Islamabad United to 39/1 after five overs. Brad Haddin whacked a glorious six from the first ball he faced in the tournament and United were off to a promising start. However, things took a dramatic turn for Islamabad once Watson was dismissed off Aizaz Cheema in the seventh over after scoring 40 from 28 balls. Gladiators halted proceedings through some brilliant bowling.
Grant Elliot made his debut for the Gladiators in the HBL PSL and wasted little time in making his mark. He bowled a clever slower ball and deceived Haddin, who was stumped by Sarfraz behind the stumps. He got Billings on his very next delivery, as Islamabad’s batsmen began to lose control of the innings. After the end of their first ten overs, United were 66/4. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals as Gladiators started bossing the match. Khalid Latif was next to fall off Mohammad Nabi as he was caught leg before. Hawkeye revealed that the ball would have missed the stumps. Nawaz picked up Imran Khalid next, just as he was beginning to score some runs. Andre Russell was also sent packing cheaply as Islamabad failed to get a single partnership going and their tail collapsed dramatically. Elliot ended up with 3 wickets as Islamabad were bowled all out for 117 runs in 19.1 overs. Gladiators must have felt pretty confident going in to the break.
Luke Wright and Ahmad Shehzad opened the innings for the Gladiators. They needed to keep wickets intact but Andre Russell had different ideas and bowled a phenomenal third over of the innings. Wright was caught by Sam Billings on the off side, before Russell bowled a superb yorker on the very next delivery to bowl out Kevin Pietersen for a golden duck! It seemed as if we had a match on our hands but Shehzad kept scoring runs steadily on the other end with some beautiful strokes. Quetta’s skipper Sarfraz Ahmed kept rotating the strike and started to build a partnership with Shehzad. Both batsmen put on an important partnership, adding 59 runs from 43 balls for the 3rd wicket before Shehzad became Russell’s third victim as he was caught in the deep by Sharjeel. Shehzad scored a confident
Quetta Gladiators were firmly in control of the match when Nawaz came out to bat. Sarfraz kept the scoreboard ticking knowing that his team did not need to do anything fancy. Ajmal tried to contain runs but wickets were hard to come by for United. The Gladiators cruised to their target in the 17th over, as Sarfraz led from the front and remained unbeaten at 51 from 39 deliveries, capping off another comprehensive victory by seven wickets. Grant Elliott was awarded the man of the match for his wonderful bowling performance. With this win, the Gladiators move to the top of the table once again as they continue to dominate in the HBL PSL.
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