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Islamabad United seal playoffs spot with two-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators

Islamabad United seal playoffs spot with two-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators
March 6, 2023 Web Desk

RAWALPINDI (92 News) - Faheem Ashraf smashed three consecutive boundaries in the final over of the match to help Islamabad United complete a nervy chase of the 180-run target against Quetta Gladiators.

Colin Munro’s blazing half-century had put Islamabad United into a commanding position by the end of the Powerplay, before a spectacular middle-order collapse threatened to derail the home side’s chase but Azam Khan and Faheem’s calm contributions ensured they achieved their fifth win of the season.

Quetta Gladiators were condemned to a horrible start to their innings after being put into bat first by Shadab Khan. The wickets kept tumbling for the visitors as they were reduced to 17-4 in the sixth over with Fazalhaq Farooqi’s nippy swing and accurate lines accounting for two scalps in the initial burst.

The pair of Najibullah Zadran (59 off 34) and Mohammad Nawaz (52 off 44) added 104 runs off 64 deliveries for the fifth wicket, reviving Quetta Gladiators’ innings. Najibullah was the aggressor of the two as he reached his fifty off 28 balls and smoked a total of five boundaries and three sixes in his brilliant knock.

Nawaz’s dismissal in the 17th over off Fazalhaq brought Umar Akmal to the crease, who slammed a quick-fire 43 not out off just 14 balls to propel Quetta Gladiators’ score to 179-6. Umar batted with an explosive strike-rate of 307.14 and walloped five maximums and two fours in his breezy knock.

In reply, Naseem Shah struck early to remove Rahmanullah Gurbaz for a duck but Alex Hales and Munro launched a breathtaking counterattack to rack up 51 runs in the first four overs. Hales was soon dismissed for 12 off 9 by Naveen-ul-Haq when he tried to force a slower delivery through cover but directed it straight to Najibullah.

Munro continued his charge on the other end, smacking four sixes and five fours in his 29-ball 63 and was removed by Iftikhar Ahmed in the eighth over as he searched for another maximum. From 96-2, Islamabad United crashed to 111-6 in the 12th over but the top-order blitz meant Azam and Faheem could afford to be circumspect in their approach and take the game deep.

The seventh-wicket partnership between the two yielded 58 runs in 44 balls before Azam (35 off 25) and Hasan Ali’s wickets in the penultimate over of the chase bowled by Umaid Asif added some late drama. Faheem (39 not out off 31) then drilled three fours in succession off Odean Smith to pull off a two-wicket triumph for his side.

Umaid registered 3-37 while Nawaz finished with figures of 2-17 in his four overs following his impressive outing with the bat.  

Scores in brief:

Quetta Gladiators 179-6, 20 overs (Najibullah Zadran 59, Mohammad Nawaz 52, Umar Akmal 43 not out; Fazalhaq Farooqi 3-25, Faheem Ashraf 2-29)

Islamabad United 183-8, 19.3 overs (Colin Munro 63, Faheem Ashraf 39 not out, Azam Khan 35; Umaid Asif 3-37, Mohammad Nawaz 2-17)

Player of the match – Fazalhaq Farooqi (Islamabad United)

Today’s fixture:

1900 -  Quetta Gladiators v Karachi Kings at Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi

Points table:

Team

Played

Won

Lost

Points

Net Run Rate

Lahore Qalandars

7

6

1

12

1.321

Islamabad United

7

5

2

10

-0.093

Multan Sultans

7

4

3

8

0.568

Peshawar Zalmi

6

3

3

6

-0.896

Karachi Kings

8

2

6

4

0.437

Quetta Gladiators

7

1

6

2

-1.580