Quetta Gladiators maintained their stronghold over the table leaders’ position in the inaugural Pakistan Super League after beating Islamabad United by seven wickets in the eleventh match at Sharjah on late Thursday.
In their 118-run chase, Quetta skipped a breath when Andre Russel took two consecutive wickets in the third over but Gladiators’ captain Sarfraz Ahmed held his nerve and guided the team past the finish line with a sensibly played half-ton.
Earlier, Islamabad were all out for 117 against Quetta after being sent in to bat first.
Shane Watson gave United a good start with 40 off 28 balls but no other player was able to capitalise on it. Imran Khalid was the second best scorer with 18 runs off 18 balls.
The dibbly-dobble Grant Elliot was able to take three wickets with his variations. Meanwhile, Zulfiqar Babar and Aizaz Cheema bagged two apiece for Quetta.
Man of the match is Grant Elliot for his three wickets: “New Zealand is not that far away. It was happy to play alongside a passionate bunch of guys. The ball was stopping a touch. Sir Vivian is an inspirational guy, to meet the man in flesh is good.”
Shane Watson: “After my wickets everything went down bad for us. The plan was to play better after two wins in the last two matches. We have to be better tomorrow now.”
Sarfarz Ahmed: “All the credit goes to the guys and especially to the bowlers. Grant Elliot and Aizaz Cheema were exceptional for us. I want to carry my good form. Shehzad and KP are helping the team out there. Moin Khan and Sir Vivian are also holding the management part nicely.”
QUE 118-3 (16.1 overs)
A double from Mohammad Nawaz and Gladiators successfully chase the target of 118 runs, defeating Islamabad United by seven wickets.
QUE 116-3 (16 overs)
Seven from the over.
Fifty up for skipper Sarfraz Ahmed from just 37 deliveries.
QUE 109-3 (15 overs)
Five runs from the over.
QUE 104-3 (14 overs)
FOUR!x2 Sarfraz punches it towards on side both times.
QUE 93-3 (13 overs)
FOUR! Sarfraz sweeps towards square-leg. That’s his favourite shot.
QUE 85-3 (12 overs)
Six from the over.
QUE 79-3 (11 overs)
Just three runs from the over.
QUE 76-3 (10 overs)
OUT! Shehzad pulls it but Sharjeel catches the ball at long-leg. Mohammad Nawaz replaces Shehzad.
SIX! Ahmed Shehzad smashes it towards midwicket.
QUE 40-2 (6 overs)
FOUR! Short and Sarfraz cuts it fine towards third man boundary.
QUE 33-2 (5 overs)
FOUR! Ahmed Shehzad gets one boundary to his name. Beats mid-on to his right.
Rumman Raees on now. Can he show the spark for which he has been selected in the Pakistan World T20 squad?
QUE 26-2 (4 overs)
FOUR! Irfan bends down to save the boundary, gets a hand to it but pulls it back in. As per Ramiz Raja ‘the Burj has come down’.
Shane Watson comes in to bowl now. Can they build on the pressure created by those two quick wickets?
QUE 19-2 (3 overs)
FOUR! Short and pulled nicely by Shehzad.
Sarfraz Ahmed faces the hat-trick ball. It was short and he just steered it for a single.
OUTx2! Luke Wright is caugh in covers while Kevin Pietersen walks in and is bowled.
QUE 13-0 (2 overs)
Ten runs off the over courtesy a boundary by Wright.
The towering left-armer Muhammad Irfan now.
QUE 3-0 (1 over)
Just three runs off the over. Quetta in no hurry.
Andre Russell has the new ball for Islamabad. They will have to bowl exceptionally well to defend this target. Luke Wright and out of the Pakistan World T20 squad opener Ahmed Shehzad open for Quetta. Shehzad will be hoping to make a statement here.
ISL 117 all out (19.1 overs)
Saeed Ajmal tries to clear deep midwicket. He is caught and Islamabad set a paltry 118-run target for Quetta.
ISL 117-9 (19 overs)
BOWLED! Slow ball and Rumman Raees misses it completely. Leg stump rocked.
Aizaz Cheema bowls the penultimate over.
ISL 113-8 (18 overs)
SIX! Over long-off. Ajmal with a great shot out of no where.
OUT! Anwar Ali with a brilliant catch in the outfield. Runs in from midwicket, dives forward and bags the ball with precision. Kamran Ghulam departs. Saeed Ajmal and Rumman Raees now try to add some respect to Islamabad’s total.
Elliot in for his last over.
ISL 103-7 (17 overs)
LBW! Hits Andre Russell on the full and the umpire raises his finger without any shimmer.
Zulfiqar Babar in for his last over now.
ISL 99-6 (16 overs)
FOUR! Hit straight and with some serious power by Andre Russell.
ISL 90-6 (15 overs)
Zulfiqar Babar goes for four runs in the over.
ISL 86-6 (14 overs)
CAUGHT BEHIND! Keeper and bowler shout for it and the umpire says Imran did edge it.
SIX! Imran Khalid goes over midwicket. Fetches it from wide off.
Muhammad Nawaz into his last over.
ISL 79-5 (13 overs)
DROPPED! Anwar Ali puts down a running catch from long-off. He caught it easily but put it down while taking the fall. He is disappointed, everyone else is disappointed. Imran Khalid survives.
Muhammad Nabi now.
ISL 71-5 (12 overs)
Only three runs off the over.
Muhammad Nawaz bowls now. Imran Khalid and Kamran Ghulam are out there for Islamabad.
ISL 68-5 (11 overs)
LBW! Khalid Latif tries to swing/sweep towards leg and misses an off-spinner.
Muhammad Nabi has been given the ball now.
ISL 66-4 (10 overs)
LBW! Sam Billing misses a leg-cutter from Elliot. The Kiwi all-rounder is making a difference already.
Grant Elliot again.
ISL 64-3 (9 overs)
Four runs of the over.
Muhammad Nawaz into his second over.
ISL 60-3 (8 overs)
STUMPED? Yes it is. Third umpire says no part of Haddin’s foot was behind the line. A very controversial decision but the line belongs to the umpire. Sam Billings is the new batsman in for Islamabad.
The Kiwi all-rounder Grant Elliot with his dibbly-dobbly pace now.
ISL 56-2 (7 overs)
Only two runs and a wicket off the over. Cheema brings Quetta back on top against Islamabad.
OUT! Watson caught by Shehzad in cover. He skied it and Shehzad stood underneath it. Cupped it safely while taking a fall. Khalid Latif is the new man in.
ISL 54-1 (6 overs)
SIX! This time its long on. Watson teaching Nawaz some important lessons for the World T20.
SIX! Swept by Watson over midwicket.
Left-arm spinner Muhammad Nawaz has been brought in now.
ISL 39-1 (5 overs)
Eight runs off the over. No boundary.
The 36-year-old Aizaz Cheema has been given the ball now.
ISL 31-1 (4 overs)
SIX! Haddin walks out to Zulfiqar and clears the straight boundary.
OUT! Sharjeel mishits a full-toss into the hands of the deep midwicket fielder. Brad Haddin joins Shane Watson.
SIX! Zulfiqar darts a fuller delivery towards leg, Watson walks out and times it over long-on.
Zulfiqar Babar on now.
ISL 17-0 (3 overs)
FOUR! Low full-toss on Watson’s feet and he sends the ball towards midwicket.
FOUR! Bludgeoned through the covers by Watson.
Anwar Ali continues into his third over.
ISL 9-0 (2 overs)
FOUR! Straight goes Watson. Easy on the eyes, pure timing by the Australian.
Zulfiqar Babar shares the new ball with Anwar.
ISL 2-0 (1 over)
Five dots, one wide and a single off the last ball.
Anwar Ali bowls the first over for Quetta. Shane Watson and Sharjeel Khan open for Islamabad.
Quetta have won the toss and opted to bowl first. They are following the same script of chasing again and again. Meanwhile, Sarfraz and co must have had the dew factor in mind while choosing to bowl first.