Stirling show after Ashraf’s 3 for 11 gives United win over Gladiators - GulfToday

Stirling show after Ashraf’s 3 for 11 gives United win over Gladiators

Paul Stirling

Islamabad United’s Paul Stirling waves his bat after his fifty against Quetta Gladiators during their PSL T20 match at the National Stadium in Karachi on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

After a brilliant bowling effort by Islamabad United all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, who took three Quetta Gladiators wickets for a measly 11 runs off his 4 overs, it was the turn of the top order of United to give them a solid start which paved the way for an easy 6-wicket win over the Gladiators in a Pakistan Super League match at the Karachi Stadium on Tuesday.

Set a 157-run target for victory, United made it in just 17 overs for the loss of 4 wickets.

United’s opening pair comprising Ireland’s Paul Stirling and England bat Alex Hales put on 76 runs in 5.5 over to put their team in the driver’s seat. Hales was the first to depart, scoring 23 off 13 balls with the help of 5 fours. Stirling hit a swashbuckling 56 off just 33 deliveries, hitting 8 to the boundary and 2 over it, his wicket falling midway in the 10th over when United had 93 on the board.

Both openers were claimed by right-arm leg-break bowler Zahid Mahmood who finished with 2 off 29 off his 4 overs. Rohail Nazir, who came in at the fall of Hales’ wicket, scored a brisk 34 off 28 balls, striking 4 fours and a six, before falling to Dale Steyn. Shadab Khan also contributed with 21 off 17 balls, his wicket claimed by Mohammad Hasnain.    

Asif Ali (16 off 10) and Hussain Talat (1) remained not out with Talat scoring the winning run.

Earlier, Gladiators put up a modest 156 for the loss of seven wickets thus leaving United needing 157 to win match 12.

The Gladiators’ opening order collapsed in the power play, with Saim Ayub being claimed by Hasan Ali in the 5th ball of the first over after he had made just 5 off 3 balls. Cameron Delport joined Ayub in the pavilion in the third over of the match after being bowled by Ashraf, having scored just 1 off 3 deliveries.

A Faf du Plessis 11-ball 17 cameo was brought to an end by Hasan Ali who had the South African leg before, with the team’s score 27 after 3.3 overs.

However, skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, Australian batsman Ben Cutting and Mohammad Nawaz gave their total some respectability during their time at the crease. Sarfaraz hit a 41-ball 54 with the help of 3 fours and 4 sixes, while Cutting scored 23 off 17 balls with 2 hits to the boundary and 1 over it. Nawaz remained not out with a 29-ball 31with the help of a four and six.

For United, Ashraf was the standout bowler, taking 3 wickets off his 4 overs while giving away just 11 runs. Hasan claimed 2 in his 4 overs at the cost of 23 runs. Shadab Khan was the other successful United bowler with one wicket to his name.

The game, which originally was to be played on Monday, was postponed to Tuesday after a player from United, Fawad Ahmed, tested positive for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, two more foreign cricketers and one staffer tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

One unnamed player was from Islamabad United, while the other two names and teams were not identified by the PCB media and communications director Sami Ul Hasan. They bring to four the number of known infections in the league.

Hasan said that game will go ahead, and the league will continue with testing every three days. Spectators will also continue to be allowed.

All four people who tested positive are in 10-day isolation.

Gladiators haven’t had the start they wanted in the tournament, losing all three games initially, as they were first outplayed by the Karachi Kings before being knocked out by Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi.

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