PSL: Islamabad United outplay Quetta Gladiators
The Gladiators lost first three wickets for just 27 runs in a match that was postponed on Monday due to a Covid-19 case
Despite a fantastic knock from captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, Quetta Gladiators failed to open their account at the Pakistan Super League (PSL), losing their fourth straight match on Tuesday.
Sarfaraz’s valiant 54 (41 balls, 3 fours, 4 sixes) had raised hopes as the Gladiators overcame a top-order collapse to post a competitive total of 156 for seven in 20 overs against Islamabad United.
But in the end, it was not enough as the Islamabad United romped home, with their Irish opener Paul Stirling (56, 33 balls, 8 fours and 2 sixes) setting the tone for the seven-wicket victory at the National Stadium in Karachi.
Stirling, who came into the PSL on the back of his impressive form in the one-day series against Afghanistan and the Abu Dhabi T10, launched a brutal attack on the Gladiators bowlers, sharing a 76-run opening partnership off 35 balls with England batsman Alex Hales (23, 13 balls, five fours).
After Zahid Mahmood earned the breakthrough in the sixth over by rattling the stumps of Hales, Stirling continued his rich vein of form until the impressive leg-spinner deceived him with a googly for his second wicket in the 10th over of the innings.
But the fabulous start had already put the Islamabad United in the driver’s seat and the likes of Rohail Nazir (34, 28 balls, 4 fours, 1 six), Shadab Khan (21, 17 balls) and Asif Ali (16 not out, 10 balls) ensured the team reached home with three overs to spare.
Earlier, the Gladiators lost three wickets for just 27 runs in a match that was postponed on Monday due to a Covid-19 case.
The United were brilliant with the ball and it was Pakistan pace bowler Faheem Ashraf that did the biggest damage, returning with outstanding figures of 4-0-11-3.
Sarfaraz’s half-century and a late cameo from Mohammad Nawaz (31, 29 balls, 1 four and 1 six) gave the Gladiators something to bowl at, but Stirling’s knock killed the game as a contest.
"I was just glad to get adjusted to conditions here again and get a few runs and win the game,” Stirling said after helping Islamabad United move up to second place in the points table.
The Irishman, though, admitted that it was a challenge to overcome the uncertainties of a delayed match.
“It was a tough few 48 hours with things off the field. It's tricky, I'm not going to lie. It's tough to not know if you're gonna be playing or a delayed game. We could have been here until 2 am last night. We finally got told this afternoon that we're gonna be on at 7 o'clock so we had enough time to get our heads around it,” he said.
“But everyone has been great. We're all trying to keep each other going and by the end of that hopefully we're still going well."
The Gladiators, meanwhile, remained at the bottom of the table after Tuesday’s defeat.
Quetta Gladiators 156 for seven in 20 overs (Sarfaraz Ahmed 54, Mohammad Nawaz 31, Ben Cutting 23; Faheem Ashraf 3/11, Hasan Ali 2/23, Shadab Khan 1/25) lost to Islamabad United 157 for four in 17 overs (Paul Stirling 56, Rohail Nazir 34, Alex Hales 23, Shadab Khan 21; Asif Ali 16 not out; Dale Steyn 1/20, Zahid Mahmood 2/29).
Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi
Multan Sultans vs Quetta Gladiators
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