This is the second consecutive victory in PSL4 for Sarfaraz Ahmed-led unit
Quetta Gladiators have defeated Islamabad United in comprehensive fashion by seven wickets, during the ongoing fourth edition of Pakistan Super League in Dubai.
While chasing a target of 158 runs, Gladiators reached home with relative ease courtesy a brilliant unbeaten half-century from opener Shane Watson. The Aussie struck six fours and four sixes during his 81-run knock off 55 balls.
Perhaps the turning point of the match came when Sami clean bowled Waston — when he was only on 28 — but it did not count because it was declared a no-ball. While delivering the ball, Sami’s hand had flicked the bails off at his own end before dismantling the stumps at the other end.
Middle-order batsman Umar Akmal also chipped in with a valuable contribution of 44 runs off 28 balls.
For United, Samit Patel, Rumman Raees and Cameron Delport claimed one wicket each.
Earlier United posted 157-8 in their allotted 20 overs, after Gladiators’ skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to field first.
Despite losing three wickets for just eight runs on the board, the defending champions recovered to post a competitive total on the board.
All-rounder Wayne Parnell top-scored with 41 runs off 20 balls, while middle-order batsmen Asif Ali and Hussain Talat scored 36 and 30 runs each.
For Gladiators, all-rounder Sohail Tanvir was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4 wickets for 21 runs.
Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed claimed three wickets for 15 runs.
While speaking to media at the end of the match, Akmal — who has been in good run of form during the tournament so far — spoke about the importance of taking every game as the last match of his career and the impact it has had on his performance.
“I’m playing every game as my last match,” said Akmal. “This has helped me in terms of focus and consequently has also led to good performances with the bat.”
Akmal also thanked his fitness trainer and the team management for helping him become leaner and adding confidence to his game, respectively.
“I would like to thank my fitness trainer and team management for helping me become a better player,” he said. “Their hardwork is the reason I’m doing well in the field. I’m looking to improve my fitness level even further.”
The Gladiators defeated Peshawar Zalmi in the previous match of the tournament — a team that Umar Akmal’s older brother Kamran plays for. While sharing his thoughts on this, Akmal said: “He is my brother but only at home because out there on the field we are fiercely competitive.”
Player of the match Shane Watson said: “Batting with Umar makes you job easier because he takes the pressure off you through his quality batting.”
He added: “It has been a little bit difficult to bat on these pitches this year but having said that this helps in making it an even contest between bat and ball.”
The Gladiators — who are currently at the top of the table — will face Multan Sultans in their next match of the tournament, on Wednesday, February 20 in Sharjah. Meanwhile Islamabad United will face Peshawar Zalmi on Friday, February 22, at the same venue.