Quetta Gladiators romp to their third straight win

By our correspondent
LAHORE: Quetta Gladiators trumped Islamabad United in a low-scoring game after putting on a clinical bowling performance. Gladiators have now won three games on the trot. Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Abrar Ahmed helped restrict Islamabad United to a modest total which was chased in 18.2 overs with three wickets in the bag. Rilee Rossouw anchored the chase with calmness and bagged Player of the Match award.
In pursuit of the 139-run total, Quetta Gladiators got off to a brisk start before Naseem Shah dismissed Saud Shakeel for mere two runs in the third over. By the end of the powerplay, they had also lost the in-form batter Khawaja Nafay, who returned for a-run-a-ball nine, leaving Quetta 51-2.
Hunain Shah, making his HBL PSL debut, struck on the first ball of his spell to remove the dangerous Jason Roy, who was cruising after having accumulated 37 off the 18 balls he had faced, including six fours and a maximum. Shadab Khan pinned Sarfaraz Ahmed leg-before wicket to leave Quetta reeling at 54-4 at the start of the eighth over.
Southpaw Sherfane Rutherford joined forces with skipper Rilee Rossouw to put on a vital 62-run fifth-wicket partnership. Naseem returned in the 16th over to break the partnership, dismissing Sherfane for 23-ball 29, including a four and two sixes.
The Shadab-led outfit continued to put up a fight as they removed Akeal and Wasim Jnr in back-to-back overs, leaving Quetta 127-7 with 12 needed off 17 balls. Skipper Rossouw put on a 12-run partnership with Mohammad Amir to seal the game for his team with 10 balls to spare, while remaining unbeaten on 34 off 38 balls. Amir chipped in with an unbeaten six-ball 11 as well.
For Islamabad, Shadab and Naseem returned with two wickets each while Rumman Raees and Hunain picked up one wicket each.
Earlier, Quetta Gladiators, who fielded an unchanged XI, won the toss and elected to bowl first, while Islamabad United brought in Hunain and Rumman to their XI.
The United opening batters, Alex Hales and Colin Munro got off to a cautious start before Hales (21, 9b, 1×4, 2x6s) teed off in the third over hitting Akeal Hosein for consecutive sixes over long-on only to get caught at extra cover on the following ball.
Salman Ali Agha took on Mohammad Hasnain in the last over of the powerplay, hitting him for four boundaries while ransacking 18 runs off the over, with the scorecard reading 60-1.
Munro (20, 22b, 1×4, 1×6) found himself struggling at the crease which led to him playing a desperate shot, against Akeal, toward long-on where Rutherford pouched the ball after a collision with Saud.
Quetta bowlers, Hasnain and Akeal kept the pressure intact and struck in ninth and 10th overs, removing Shadab (2, 4b) and Azam (1, 4b) for paltry scores, respectively. At the halfway mark Islamabad found themselves 83-4 with Jordan Cox and Agha in the middle.
Abrar returned in 12th over to dismiss United’s highest scorer, Agha (33, 23b, 5x4s), courtesy of a fine catch by Nafay at deep square leaving them 87-5. Imad Wasim (9, 15b) too fell to Abrar after struggling to get off the blocks with Islamabad in dire straits.
Valuable contributions from Cox (19, 21b, 1×4) and Faheem Ashraf (20, 14b, 1×4, 1×6) towards the end of the innings helped Islamabad post 138-9 in the 20 overs.
Mohammad Wasim Jnr bagged three wickets in his last two overs to end Quetta’s bowling effort on a high. Abrar also got three wickets. Akeal dismissed two batters while Hasnain, who became the 12th bowler to take 50 HBL PSL wickets, dismissed one batter.
Scores in brief:
Quetta Gladiators beat Islamabad United by three wickets
Islamabad United 138-9, 20 overs (Agha Salman 33, Alex Hales 21; Abrar Ahmed 3-18, Mohammad Wasim Jnr 3-20)
Quetta Gladiators 139-7, 18.2 overs (Jason Roy 37, Rilee Rossouw 34 not out; Shadab Khan 2-24, Naseem Shah 2-34)
Player of the match – Rilee Rossouw (Quetta Gladiators)

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