|Quetta Gladiators (171/7) beat Islamabad United (169/10) by 3 Wickets
Man of the Match: Mohammad Hasnain (QG)
After winning the toss, Sarfaraz Ahmed elected to bowl first, a formula Quetta Gladiators have been using to good effect in previous seasons.
Following a colorful opening ceremony, it was action straightaway as Mohammad Nawaz removed hard-hitting batsman, Colin Munro, off the first ball of the innings. The other opener, Luke Ronchi, who is another the mentor for Islamabad United, looked good before getting out to Sohail Khan.
Dawid Malan, the Englishman who has played for Peshawar Zalmi in the previous editions, made sure that his team didn’t slow down with wickets falling at the other end. Colin Ingram didn’t last long as well, top-edging a slower one on the bowling of Australian all-rounder, Ben Cutting. Shortly after, he removed the set batsman, Malan, to bring all-rounder and captain, Shadab Khan to the crease.
A cameo from Faheem Ashraf made sure that United got past the 160-runs mark. Ben Cutting’s 3 wickets and Mohammad Hasnain’s 4-for restricted Shadab XI to 168. Malan top-scored with 64 off 40 balls.
Just like the first innings, the score read 0 for 1 as Mohammad Musa sent Jason Roy back to the pavilion after a smart review by Islamabad United. Emerging category fast bowler, Akif Javed bamboozled Shane Watson with some brilliant balls to start his PSL career. He was the next to go courtesy a run out shortly after a dropped catch of Ahmad Shahzad.
Shahzad followed suit after Faheem Ashraf took a stunning catch running to his right as Gladiators were left reeling at 26 for 3 inside 5 overs.
Hard-hitting batsman, Azam Khan, and captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, held things together as they kept chipping away with runs, adding 62 for the 4th wicket partnership. The captain departed after scoring 21 from 18.
Azam completed his half-century in a good time to keep Quetta’s hopes alive. He was dismissed after scoring 59 at a staggering strike rate of 178.78 with 41 runs needed from 34 balls. Despite a relatively easy equation, Mohammad Nawaz couldn’t hold his nerve and got out soon to youngster Akif Javed.
Ben Cutting finished things off with a six to seal Quetta’s first win in the tournament.
The Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) fifth edition is only a few hours away and the fans are eagerly waiting for the opening match. Before that, a glamorous opening ceremony is also salted for cricket lovers.
The opening ceremony will kick off at 6:45 pm and it will last for about an hour. The match will begin after the conclusion of the opening festivities at 9:00 pm.
Fittingly, the opening clash is between defending champions, Quetta Gladiators, and two-times champions, Islamabad United. Sarfaraz Ahmed will lead Gladiators whereas young leg-spinner, Shadab Khan will captain United.
Here’s all you need to know about today’s clash which will set the tone for the remainder of the tournament:
|Date||Thursday, 20th February 2020|
|Time||09:00 pm PST|
|Venue||National Stadium Karachi|
Considered two of the most successful teams in the competition, Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United are evenly matched sides, both on paper and on the field. In the 9 matches, they have played so far, Gladiators have won 5 whereas United emerged victorious on 4 occasions.
Luke Ronchi (WK), Colin Ingram, Dawid Malan, Hussain Talat, Phil Salt, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan (C), Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Akif Javed, Muhammad Musa
Jason Roy, Shane Watson, Ahmad Shahzad, Sarfraz Ahmed (C, WK), Azam Khan, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Fawad Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain, Aarish Khan, Sohail Khan
Players to Lookout For
Akif Javed, Islamabad United’s emerging pick, has already made waves during the domestic T20 cup, for his top-quality left-arm fast bowling. Asif Ali has been a mainstay of United’s batting line-up in recent years and his contribution down the order will be crucial to their chances.
World Cup winner, Jason Roy, and his opening partner, Shane Watson, have the ability to dismantle any bowling attack and the opposition would look to get them out cheaply.
Here’s the updated PSL 2020 points table.