Rawalpindi, 27 February 2020: Defending champions Quetta Gladiators produced a stunning run-chase to defeat Islamabad United by five wickets in the first-ever HBL Pakistan Super League match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Gladiators’ victory has given them the top-spot in the HBL PSL 2020 points table. They have won three out of their four games and have six points after the end of the ninth match of the tournament.
Set a stiff 188-run target, Quetta Gladiators were helped past the target by an unbroken 57-run partnership between man-of-the-match Ben Cutting (42 not out, 17 balls, two fours, four sixes) and Mohammad Nawaz (25 not out, 20 balls, three fours).
Cutting made the difference by scoring 17 runs off the 18th over of the Gladiators’ chase when they needed 33 to win at the start of the over. Rumman Raees conceded a mere five runs in the penultimate over to bring United back in the hunt but Cutting finished the game off through back-to-back sixes off Amad Butt’s final over to take his side over the line with two balls spare.
The foundation of the Gladiators’ chase was laid by opener Jason Roy (50 off 38) and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed (33 off 20). Gladiators were in a spot of bother when Sarfaraz was dismissed by Faheem Ashraf, which left Gladiators needing 55 off the last 29 balls. However, Cutting’s heroics helped them secure a vital victory which has taken them to the top of the six-team table.
Ahmed Safi with two wickets for 17 runs in three overs was the pick of the United bowlers.
Earlier, Sarfaraz won the toss and opted to field first. United got off to a blazing start as Luke Ronchi took 11 runs off the first over bowled by Sohail Khan. His innings though was nipped in the bud by fast-bowler Naseem Shah who demolished his stumps with a fast yorker on the first ball of the second over.
Naseem then took another prized wicket when he breached Dawid Malan’s (10) defences sending the stumps flying again. Colin Munro was the third wicket to fall, he went after a quickfire 31 off 20 balls (two fours, three sixes) leaving United at 56 for three in the sixth over.
United skipper Shadab Khan who scored a scintillating fifty in United’s win over Lahore Qalandars last Sunday, scored 39 off 25 balls (three fours, two sixes). The right-hander added 76 runs in 50 balls with Colin Ingram for the fourth wicket.
Ingram held the innings together as United lost quick wickets at the other end. The left-hander stayed at the crease till the end of the United innings to propel them to 187 for seven.
Ingram scored 63 off 40 balls (six fours, two sixes) to register his first fifty for United in his third match of his first-ever season with the franchise.
Naseem with figures of two for 23 in four overs was the pick of the Gladiators bowling line-up.
Scores in brief
Islamabad United 187-7, 20 overs (Colin Ingram 63 not out, Shadab Khan 39, Colin Munro 31; Naseem Shah 2-23, Tymal Mills 2-34)
Quetta Gladiators 190-5, 19.4 overs (Jason Roy 50, Ben Cutting 42 not out, Sarfaraz Ahmed 33; Ahmed Safi 2-17, Faheem Ashraf 2-46)
Result: Quetta Gladiators win by five wickets