United stay alive as Gladiators crash out

By our correspondent
KARACHI: Islamabad United will join Peshawar Zalmi in the second eliminator after they beat Quetta Gladiators by 39 runs at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Friday night. Islamabad scored 174-9 in the first innings, which they comfortably defended as Quetta was dismissed for just 135.
After opting to bat first, Martin Guptill and Alex Hales put up a 51-run opening partnership, giving Islamabad a strong start. After seeing off Mohammad Amir’s first over for just two runs, Guptill hit three consecutive fours against Mohammad Wasim Jnr in the second over to get things going for the side.
Hales (23, 20b, 1×4, 2x6s) hit two maximums against Abrar Ahmed in the fifth over but was caught by Jason Roy off Akeal Hosein in the following over as Islamabad ended the powerplay at 51-1.
After the seventh and eighth overs passed quietly, Salman Ali Agha took charge against Wasim in the ninth over, hitting a four and six. By halfway mark, Islamabad stood at 93-1.
Saud Shakeel’s introduction to the attack in the 12th over proved fruitful as he broke the 51-run partnership by dismissing Salman (31, 21b, 2x4s, 1×6). Shadab Khan walked in next and hit a quickfire 23 off 13, including one four and two sixes, before he fell to Abrar, with the scorecard reading 131-3 after 15 overs.
Guptill got his 56th T20 half-century with a four on the fifth delivery of the 16th over. In the next over, Azam Khan (18, 6b, 1×4, 2x6s) hit two sixes and a four before Hosein avenged himself on the last ball.
Islamabad lost four wickets in the 18th and 19th overs; Faheem Ashraf was caught behind off Amir while Haider Ali was run out on the next delivery. Then, Imad Wasim was run out courtesy of an excellent aim at the striker’s end by Wasim. Subsequently, Guptill (56, 47b, 5x4s, 1×6) sent one straight to Roy fielding at long-on.
Amir, bowling the final over, castled Hunain Shah on the second delivery. Naseem Shah hit a six on the last ball of the innings to help Islamabad finish with a comfortable total of 174-9 after 20 overs.
Amir and Hosein had two wickets each while Saud, Wasim and Abrar picked up one each.
In return, Quetta Gladiators had a horror start to the chase as they lost half their wickets inside of the powerplay, whilst in pursuit of 175-run target on the tricky Karachi pitch.
Imad, who opened the bowling for Islamabad, drew first blood with opening batter Saud caught behind for a five-ball duck on the final ball of the first over.
On the second ball of the second over, Roy edged one to Faheem fielding at first slip and had to join his fellow opener back in the pavilion for just a run off three deliveries.
Rilee Rossouw announced himself on the crease with a boundary on his first ball, facing Naseem. However, he could not maintain his stay at the crease and was caught by Haider at deep square in the third over, awarding Imad his second wicket of the day. Continuing his disappointing tally of scores at HBL PSL 9, the Quetta captain returned for a run-a-ball five.
Then, Imad returned to bowl his third over and continued his lethal attack on the Quetta batting line-up. Nafay (5, 10b, 1×4), the fifth batter in, fell on the second delivery as the substitute fielder Qasim Akram grabbed a brilliant catch at short mid-off.
On the subsequent ball, Evans was run out for a duck as trouble deepened for Quetta who found themselves 21-5 after five overs.
Omair Bin Yousuf, who had witnessed his team’s batting collapse from the other end, was then joined in the middle by Hosein. The two batted together to add 52 runs off 34 balls, providing Quetta’s innings with a sense of stability as the side managed to get to 67-5 at the halfway mark.
The sixth-wicket stand was cut short in the 11th over when Hosein (31, 18b, 2x4s, 3x6s) was run out after confusion in the middle. Subsequently, a languid 17-run seventh-wicket stand between Omair and Wasim (6, 10b) followed until the latter fell to Faheem in the 14th over.
Amir walked into bat with Gladiators requiring 90 from 40 balls. . He hit a dexterous 23 off 14, on the back of four boundaries and a six, attempting to keep Quetta in the game, despite the mounting pressure. The 20-ball 41-run eighth-wicket stand was eventually broken when Amir fell to Obed McCoy in the 17th over.
Omair completed his second HBL PSL half-century (50, 37b, 4x4s, 1×6) before Faheem caught him at deep midwicket to award Naseem his second wicket. Hunain rattled Abrar’s stumps in the penultimate over to finish the game, as Islamabad cruised to Eliminator 2, scheduled to be played on 16 March at National Bank Stadium at 9pm.
Imad Wasim was the pick of the bowlers for Islamabad, returning with three wickets for just 12 runs in his four overs. Naseem had two wickets while Faheem, Hunain and McCoy had one each.
Scores in brief:
Islamabad United beat Quetta Gladiators by 39 runs.
Islamabad United 174-9, 20 overs (Martin Guptill 56, Salman Ali Agha 31: Mohammad Amir 2-20, Akeal Hosein 2-34)
Quetta Gladiators 135 all out, (Omair bin Yousuf 50, Akeal Hosein 31, Mohammad Amir 23; Imad Wasim 3-12, Naseem Shah 2-33)
Player of the match – Imad Wasim (Islamabad United

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