Defending champion Quetta Gladiators did an impressive five-gate chase match against Islamabad United in the first HBL Pakistan Super League game at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
The victory of the gladiators earned them first place in the HBL PSL 2020 points table. They won three of their four games and six points after the end of the ninth game of the tournament.
Quetta Gladiators set a stiff goal with 188 runs and was led by an unbroken partnership between Ben Cutting (42 not eliminated, 17 balls, two fours, four sixes) and Mohammad Nawaz (with a goal of 42). 25 not out, 20 balls, three fours).
Cutting made the difference by scoring 17 runs from the 18th over in the gladiator chase when it took 33 to win at the start of the over. Rumman Raees only took five runs in the penultimate game to get United back on the hunt, but Cutting ended the game with two sixes before Amad Butts Finale to get his team two balls over the line.
The cornerstone for the pursuit of the gladiators was laid by opener Jason Roy (50 out of 38) and Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed (33 out of 20). The gladiators were concerned when Sarfaraz was released by Faheem Ashraf, causing the gladiators to need 55 of their last 29 balls. Cutting’s exploits, however, have helped them win a decisive victory that has taken them to the top of the six-team table.
Ahmed Safi with two gates for 17 runs in three overs was the choice of the United Bowler.
Previously, Sarfaraz won the litter and opted for the first field. United got off to a flying start when Luke Ronchi completed 11 runs from Sohail Khan’s first over bowling. However, his innings were nipped in the bud by fast-bowler Naseem Shah, who tore off his stumps with a fast Yorker past the first ball of the second.
Naseem then took another valuable wicket when he broke through Dawid Malan’s (10) defense and let the stumps fly again. Colin Munro was the third wicket to fall. He went after a rapid-fire 31 out of 20 balls (two fours, three sixes) and left United with 56 for three in the sixth.
United skipper Shadab Khan, who scored fifty points in United’s win against Lahore Qalandars last Sunday, scored 39 out of 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 when United lost quick gates at the other end. The left-hander stayed on the fold until the end of the United Innings to bring them to 187 for seven.
Ingram scored 63 out of 40 balls (six fours, two sixes) to register his first fifty for United in the third game of his very first season with the franchise.
Naseem with two numbers for 23 in four overs was the choice of the gladiators’ bowling cast.
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