United beat Gladiators by 63 runs

Sports Desk

KARACHI: Azam Khan starred as Islamabad United thrashed Quetta Gladiators by 63 runs in the 13th match of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the National Bank Cricket Arena in Karachi on Friday.
Opting to bat first, Islamabad posted a massive 221-run target on the score-board before bowling out Quetta for 157 in 19.1 overs, thanks to a sensational batting display by Azam and a great display by the bowlers.
In reply to the big total, Quetta couldn’t find the momentum as they lost quick wickets.
Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez played a crucial innings as he helped a struggling Quetta get back on its feet by scoring 48 runs off 26 balls. With his innings, Hafeez stitched a 69-run partnership with skipper Sarfaraz Ah-med for the fourth wicket.
However, the batter fell to the Afghan pacer Fazalhaq in the 11th over.
The Gladiators next lost their skipper Sarfaraz, who scored 41 runs off 26 balls before falling to Shadab.
The Islamabad skipper Shadab struck again in the same over and sent Moham-mad Nawaz back to the pavilion.
Iftikhar Ahmed tried to take charge but he couldn’t really get going. The right-handed batter scored 39 runs off 27 balls before getting out to Hasan Ali.
All-rounder Odean Smith, Mohammad Hasnain, and Naseem Shah were sent back inside five deliveries.
Debutant Fazalhaq Farooqi cleaned up Martin Guptill with a brilliant in-swinging delivery. The New Zealander departed for a golden duck.
In the second over, mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed struck as he trapped Jason Roy (5) for an lbw.
Later, on the first ball of his second over, the spinner bowled out Will Smeed, re-ducing Quetta to 23-3. The young English batter looked in good touch but could gather only 17 runs.
For Islamabad, Fazalhaq and Hasan Ali claimed three wickets each, while Shadab and Abrab secured two scalps each.
Earlier, Azam Khan shined as Islamabad United set a mammoth target of 221 runs against Quetta Gladiators.
Azam smashed 97 runs in 42 balls, including nine boundaries and eight maxi-mums.
After the Gladiators claimed quick wickets, Azam and Asif Ali hit boundaries to get Islamabad United back in the game.
Azam and Asif put on a sensational 98-run partnership off just 45 balls for the fifth wicket to get their side back in the game.
Asif managed to gather 42 runs off 24 balls, laced up with a boundary and four maximums.
After Asif’s departure, Azam continued to hit boundaries and put on a 51-run partnership with Faheem Ashraf (17) to help his side reach the big total.
Young pacer Aimal Khan, who is making his debut for the Gladiators, cleaned up the dangerous Colin Munro after he scored 38 runs off 22 balls, including a four and four maximums.
After Mohammad Hasnain struck twice, Odean Smith sent Islamabad’s skipper Shadab Khan packing after the all-rounder tried to play a big shot but edged and got bowled. He scored 12 runs off 14 balls.
Hasnain got the better of Rassie van der Dussen (1), who was trying to a flick shot against the speedster, but the South African batter ended up being bowled.
Hasnain gave Quetta Gladiators an early breakthrough as he sent Rahmanullah Gurbaz (8) back to the pavilion, reducing Islamabad United to 13-1.