Dubai: Defending champions Quetta Gladiators got off to a winning start in the opening match of the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium in Karachi on Thursday night by defeating Islamabad United by three wickets.
Islamabad posted 168 in 19.1 overs and Quetta reached the target in 18.3 overs despite losing seven wickets. Quetta’s nineteen-year-old pacer Mohammad Hasnain with a fine a spell of 4-25 was responsible for checking Islamabad’s run flow after Dawid Malan had scored 64 off 40 balls.
Chasing the target, Quetta lost three wickets for 26 runs before 21-year-old Azam Khan played a match winning knock of 59 off 33 balls with five boundaries and three sixes. Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed chipped in with 21 and Mohammad Nawaz (23) before Ben Cutting scored an unbeaten 22 off 12 balls to ensure the victory.
Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar on Friday lauded middle-order batsman Azam for his superb innings, saying the Karachi-born youngster has proved his worth in the team.
"There has been a lot of criticism on Azam because of his father and coach of Gladiators Moin Khan. But through his performance Azam has proved that he deserved a place in the team. There must have been a lot of pressure on Moin but I congratulate him for Azam's performance," he said.
The Rawalpindi Express also hailed Hasnain and Cutting's bowling that restricted two-time champions Islamabad.