Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen smashed a cracking 48 to power Quetta Gladiators to a convincing six-wicket win over Islamabad United in the only match at Sharjah stadium on Wednesday.
Pietersen, who will retire from all cricket later this year, hit three sixes and four boundaries off 34 balls and in the company of Mohammad Nawaz ( 25 off 31 balls with two sixes ) added 70 runs for the fourth wicket stand to help Quetta chase down a modest 135-run target in 17.1 overs.
The win gives Quetta four points in three games, with two wins and a defeat while former champions Islamabad are down with two defeats in three matches. To add further to their troubles Islamabad saw their spearhead Rumman Raees had to stretcher off after suffering a leg injury on the boundary.
Pietersen and Nawaz helped Quetta recover from the loss of three early wickets. Pietersen was finally dismissed by Steven Finn with just 16 runs to score.
Islamabad had dismissed Shane Watson for two but Rumman Raees had overstepped. It allowed the former Australian allrounder to smash one six and a boundary but Steven Fin had Watson for 11, caught ironically by Rumman.
Former Pakistan paceman Mohammad Sami then had Umar Amin (six) and Finn had Asad Shafiq (22) in successive overs to catch Quetta napping at 48-3 but Pietersen and Nawaz blunted the Islamabad attack.
Quetta, led by Pakistan paceman Rahat Ali, unleashed tight line and length and only for one over allowed Islamabad to score heavily. That came in the sixth oevr when Luke Ronchi smashed four boundaries, a six and a couple to take 24 runs.
But once Ronchi was dismissed for 26-ball 43 with seven boundaries and a six, Islamabad failed to score at a fast pace. Jean-Paul Duminy took 26 balls for his 14 while Misbah-ul-Haq made a laborious 25-ball 22 with a six and a boundary.
Hussain Talat also made 25-ball 22 and the only one who gave some fillip to the batting was Faheem Ashraf who smashed two sixes in the 19th over. Faheem made 13-ball 21 before he was run out in the final over.
Rahat was the pick of the bowlers with 18 runs in his four overs, taking one wicket.
Thursday will also have one match in which Quetta Gladiators take on title holders Peshawar Zalmi.