Opener Luke Wright scored a dashing half-century and and left-arm Mohammad Nawaz snared four wickets to help lowly rated Quetta Gladiators upset a formidable Islamabad United by eight wickets to give an ideal start to the first-ever Pakistan Super League in Dubai on Thursday.
Any league aiming to gain height and momentum would have loved such a kick-start as Moin Khan coached Quetta fought like true gladiators, bowling, fielding and batting to perfection before a handome weak-end crowd of 16,000.
Islamabad United, sent into bat by Quetta captain Sarfraz Ahmed, struggled to 128-7 in their 20 overs with left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz coming good with 4-13 in his four overs.
Wright then punished Islamabad bowlers right from the outset of the chase, hitting 53-ball x86 and was ably supported by Nawaz who made run-a-ball 22 not out. Quetta team chased down the target in 16 overs.
The former England batsman, who played for Melbourne Stars in the recenly concluded Big Bash in Australia and hit a hundred, smashed wo sixes off the first two balls from Mohammad Irfan’s third over of the innings to give the right kind of impetus to a modest run chase.
He then cracked foru boundaries in Andre Russell’s first over to give shivers to Islamabad team and despite losing fellow opener Ahmed Shehzad for 11 did not stop from his free flowing strokes.
Kevin Pietersen managed just eight before he was snapped up by left-armer Imran Khan in the ninth over as Islamabad tried to stage a comeback.
Nawaz then made sure the target was achieved without a hiccup. Wright hit 11 boundaries and four wixes in his magnificent innings.
Earlier, Misbah-ul-Haq scored 28-ball 41 and Andre Russell whipped his bat to the best effect with a 20-ball 35 studded with two towering sixes and four boundaries.
Islamabad struggled against spin, as Nawaz ran through the top order after fell ow spinner Zulfiqar Babar dismissed opener Sharjeel Khan in the fifth over with the score on 21. Nawaz had Shane Watson, (15), Sam Billings (two), Babar Azam (15) and Imran Khalid (four) in the space of just 35 runs.
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Paceman Umar Gul had Umar Amin for duck as Islamabad’s much touted batting line-up crumbled to 63-6 in the 15th over.
Surprisingly, hard hitter Andre Russell was held back to number eight and he threw his bat to bolster the Islamnabad United scoire from 86-6 in the 17th over by adding 42 in the last three. It was Russell who hit the first PSL six in the 16th over.
Russell smashed two fours and as many sixes in Gul’s third over before another 15 were scored in the 19th bowled by Anwar Ali, who started the PSL with a maiden over.
Misbah was finally dismissed, caught off a slower one at fine-leg. Russell smashed seven more with a boundary in the final Gul over.
Karachi Kings will take on Lahore Qalanders in the first match on Friday while Islamabad United will return to take on Shahid Afridi’s Peshawar Zalmi in the second match on Friday.
The first-ever PSL was earlier inaugurated in an impressive opening ceremony attended by 16,000 people.