In the 26th match of PSL – Quetta Gladiators vs Islamabad United, an all-round performance from the Gladiators sink Islamabad.
Table of Contents
This was the last match to be played in the UAE. Quetta had already qualified after defeating Peshawar in the last match by 8 wickets. Contrary to it, it was a very important match in terms of qualification for Islamabad after they lost to Peshawar in the last match. Quetta had won the reverse fixture by 8 wickets but was put in to bat first this time around after Islamabad won the toss.
1st Innings: Shahzad’s masterpiece
Sent in to bat first, Quetta started the innings very briskly. Ahmed and Watson hammered Shadab for 21 in his first over but the fireworks were, however, shortlived. Watson (15) gave away his wicket to Patel after playing a soft shot and giving an easy catch to point. Shahzad grew into confidence and started playing his shots more freely as the innings progressed. He lost Azam Khan (12) at the other end who had a difficult time at the crease and edged Faheem’s ball to Ronchi.
After that, Ahmed Shahzad had two quick-fire partnerships with Rossouw and Umar Akmal. Rossouw scored 23 off 17 before the first partnership was broken, Gohar getting his man. Akmal went afterward but not before he had scored a blistering 27 of 17, 3 sixes, and made a partnership of 44 with Ahmed. He was clean bowled by Amad Butt after failing to pick a slower one.
Islamabad strike back
Ahmed Shahzad continued his brilliant form as he brought up his half-century. He too, however, was picked in the same over by Amad Butt to a slower ball but not before he had made a score of 73 from 46, 10 boundaries. Islamabad applied the breaks as Quetta went on somewhat of a scoring spree. Faheem came back into the attack and took 3 wickets in his over. Sarfaraz (1) was the first one to go courtesy a great diving catch in the deep by Amad. DJ went for naught after he top-edged one down to the third man and Tanvir (0) was the last one, faint edging one to Ronchi.
Fawad also went for naught as he top-edged Amad straight to Ronchi. Nawaz hit a couple of boundaries at the very end as Quetta ended their innings with 180/9 on the board. Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the lot with figures of 4 for 18 in his 3.
2nd Innings: A fiery start
Chasing a target of 181, Islamabad started off with fireworks. Ronchi and Delport both looked dangerous as they took the bowlers to the cleaners across the park. With 8 boundaries, the pair put up a 62 run stand in just 8 overs.
Islamabad, looking all set for a wonderful chase, got into trouble once the spinners were brought on. Fawad Ahmed has been one of the stand-out bowlers in this year’s PSL and he exhibited that today, again. Delport came down the track and failed to pick his googly as he got stumped for 25.
Once this partnership got broken, Islamabad could never really get back into the game. Fawad picked his 2nd of the over when he bowled Salt for just 2 runs. Asif Ali went for nothing in the very next over as he got a peach of a delivery from Nawaz. Pitching on middle and leg, the ball straightened and clipped his off-stump.
Samit Patel and Ronchi, who brought up his half-century in proceedings, tried to build some sort of partnership but the run rate kept rising. Looking to up the ante, Ronchi (64) tried a sweep off of Fawad but top edged it straight to Watson at short 3rd man.
Hasnain was once again ferocious with his sheer pace as he took 2 in his over. Samit Patel (14) was the first one as he edged one to Sarfaraz. Faheem (2) couldn’t deal with the pace as he pulled one straight to mid-wicket. Tanvir picked 2 and Bravo picked one in the last over as Islamabad only managed 137/9 in their 20, Quetta winning by a margin of 43 runs. Fawad Ahmed was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3 for 26 in his 4.
Quetta, with this victory, have once again regained their spot at the top of the table. It has been a brilliant all-round performance by the Gladiators and the smile on the face of Sir Viv said it all. Islamabad, meanwhile, collapsed after getting such a good start from the openers and they have to win their last match if they want to continue in the tournament.
Moment of the Match
The moment of the match has to be Muhammad Nawaz’s ripper to get rid of Salt. A delivery that pitched on middle and leg and clipped his off stump.
Man of the Match
Ahmad Shahzad got the man of the match award for the brilliant batting performance.
PSL goes on a 3-day break as the teams head to Pakistan with Lahore taking on Islamabad on 9th March.
For more updates, keep visiting Cricket Howzat.