Gurbaz, Rassie, Hasan guide United to a big win

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz hit a rapid fifty while Hasan Ali picked three wickets as Islamabad United conquered Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets in the one-sided show of the HBL PSL 8 here at the National Stadium on Thursday.

Khost-born Afghan cricketer Gurbaz, playing his first game, smacked a 31-ball 62 while Rassie van der Dussen smacked 42 to enable United chase the 157-run target with 31 balls to spare after losing four wickets in the process.

Earlier fast bowler Hasan Ali began his journey brightly in the edition with 3-35 to restrict Zalmi to 156-8 thanks to solid contributions from skipper Babar Azam (75*) and Mohammad Haris (40).

This was the second win from United in three games which took them to the second spot while this was the second loss for Zalmi and they dropped to the fourth place with four points.

Set to chase 157, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Colin Munro provided an explosive start to Islamabad United as the duo put on 31 in 16 balls. Arshad Iqbal gave a much-needed breakthrough to Zalmi when he bowled Munro for a five-ball nine with one six.

Gurbaz, who took a centre stage, then added 67 runs off 36 balls for the second wicket with Rassie van der Dussen before falling to leggie Usman Qadir. Gurbaz, who completed his fifty off just 24 balls, smacked four sixes and seven fours in his entertaining knock.

Soon afterwards Jimmy Neesham got rid of Shadab (3) to leave United at 112-3 in 11 overs.

Rassie was the next man getting run out for a 29-ball 42. The South African, who hit six fours, added 28 for the fourth wicket with Asif Ali who remained not out on an explosive 13-ball 29 not out. Asif smashed three sixes and one four in his fine knock.

Azam Khan (9*) hit Arshad Iqbal for a huge six to make his side home in 14.5 overs.

United scored 80 in the powerplay which is the highest so far in this edition.

Arshad Iqbal, Neesham and Usman Qadir shared one wicket each.

After being invited to bat first Mohammad Haris and Babar Azam provided a solid base with some superb hitting in the powerplay which yielded 69 runs. They shared 76 for the opening stand. However, Shadab Khan broke the dangerous stand. He held Haris off his own bowling and from there Zalmi’s collapse started as they lost their five batsmen inside 23 runs which completely tilted the pendulum in United’s favour.

Haris smashed 21-ball 40 with four fours and a six. After Haris’ removal, off-spinner Mubasir Khan, in the next over, bowled Saim Ayub (3) when he went back but could not get a contact with the ball. Soon afterwards Hasan Ali, who had conceded 17 runs in his first over, made amends for early damage when he got rid of Tom Kohler-Cadmore (1) and Rovman Powell (0) in a single over to leave Zalmi at 87-4 in the tenth over. Hasan in his next over sent Jimmy Neesham (6) to add to Zalmi’s misery. The left-hander went for a pull but it took an upper edge of the blade to Azam Khan behind the stumps.

Dasun Shanaka then gave some support to Babar but Faheem Ashraf removed him, smartly held at deep square-leg by Tom Curran for a 10-ball 11.

Rumman Raees then removed Wahab Riaz (8) before Usman Qadir (7) getting run out. Babar Azam remained not out on 58-ball 75, his second fifty of the event which came off 33 balls. He hammered seven fours and one six in his captain knock.

Hasan Ali, who was included in place of Mohammad Wasim Junior, eventually returned to his form, finishing with 3-35 in four overs.

Earlier Islamabad United made four changes by replacing Paul Stirling, Hassan Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Junior and Abrar Ahmed with Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Asif Ali, Hasan Ali and Mubasir khan.

Zalmi went unchanged.

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