Abu Dhabi: Quetta Gladiators showed that they are in no mood to rest on their laurels as they powered their way to 43-run win over Islamabad United in their last UAE match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Quetta, who were the first team to qualify for the play-offs before the leg starts in Karachi, with this win has taken a strong claim at the top of the standings with 14 points from nine outings.
Islamabad United remain on third with eight points from four wins and five losses on better net run rate than Karachi Kings, who are also on eight points from nine outings.
Chasing 181 for win, the scoreboard pressure was always going to be there on Islamabad batsmen.
New Zealander Luke Ronchi and South African Cameron Delport, however, provided Islamabad with a steady start. The duo put on a partnership of 62 for the first wicket in 8.2 overs.
But, once leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed broke that partnership with the wicket of Delport, the slide started. Philip Salt was bowled by Ahmed with a peach of a delivery that straightened after pitching.
Mohammad Nawaz with the wicket of Asif Ali reduced Islamabad to 65 for 3.
Rochi went on to score 64 off 43 but once he departed, Islamabad couldn’t keep up with the required run-rate that went well above 13 after 14 overs.
Earlier, despite having already qualified for the play-offs following their eight wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi on Tuesday, Quetta came down hard on Islamabad after being put into bat.
Ahmad Shehzad led the onslaught after Quetta lost the pioneer of the last match against Peshawar — Shane Watson for 15. Watson, who scored a brilliant unbeaten 91 off 55 balls against Peshawar, fell to left-arm spinner Samit Patel.
Shehzad, however, continued from where he had left as his followed his half century knock with another fiery 73 off 44 balls. The innings, comprising of nine fours and a six was ended by Shadab Khan.
Useful contribution also came from South African Rilee Rossouw, who scored a quick-fire 23 off 17 while Umar Akmal also gave the acceleration with 27 off 17.
Quetta then lost wickets in a heap – six to be precise in 14 balls and for just 13 runs. Faheem Ashraf and Amad Butt sharing the spoils with four and three wickets respectively.
Mohammad Nawaz, however, managed to connect well to hammer a six and a four from the last two deliveries to see Quetta to 180 for 9 in 20 overs.
Quetta Gladiators 180 for 9 in 20 overs (Ahmad Shehzad 73 off 44 balls, Rilee Rossouw 23 off 17 balls, Umar Akmal 22 off 17 balls, Faheem Ashraf 4 for 18 from 3 overs, Amad Butt 3 for 40). Islamabad United 137 for 9 in 20 overs (Luke Ronchi 64 off 43 balls, Cameron Delport 25, Fawad Ashraf 3 for 26, Sohail Tanvir 2 for 19, Mohammad Hasnain 2 for 26). Quetta Gladiators win by 43 runs.