HBL PSL T20 Islamabad vs Quetta: Wright, Nawaz star as Gladiators thrash United
Mohammad Nawaz picked up 4-13 and Wright smashed 86 off 53 balls as Quetta Gladiators thrashed Islamabad United by eight wickets in a low-scoring opening encounter of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
An explosive knock of 35 off 20 balls from United's Andre Russell lifted the capital's franchise to 128-7 as the Gladiators threatened to run away with the game after winning the toss and bowling first.
United lost six wickets for just 64 runs, with 21-year-old left-arm spinner Nawaz doing the damage.
Nawaz claimed four wickets conceding just 13 runs in his quota of four overs on a pitch which supported spinners.
Quetta made light work of the total with Wright smashing four sixes and 11 fours in his blistering knock.
The England international remained unbeaten with Nawaz chipping in with 22 as the Gladiators crossed the finish line in just 16 overs.
A blistering unbeaten half century by Luke Wright (86) powered Quetta Gladiators to an eight-wicket win over Islamabad United in the opening match of PSL in Dubai on Thursday.
Chasing a modest target of 129, Quetta were home with four overs to spare making 132 for two with Wright's 53-ball knock being laced with 11 fours and four sixes.
Wright has smashed Russell for his fourth six to level the scores and then flicks him to the fence for the winning hit.
Wright crunches Irfan through extra cover for a boundary to power Gladiators to 86-2, 10 overs.
Pietersen is trapped leg before by Khalid. Gladiators 73-2, 8.4 overs.
Kevin Pietersen lbw b Imran Khalid 8 (12b)
Left arm spinner Khalid strikes with his third delivery as Shehzad chips a return catch. Gladiators 53-1, 4.3 overs.
Ahmed Shehzad c and b Imran Khalid 11 (9b 2x4)
Quetta are racing along merrily with Wright smacking four boundaries off Russell. Gladiators 53-0, 4 overs.
Wright is turning it on whacking a couple of sixes off giant Irfan who sends down short pitched stuff.
Wright cuts Badree past point for another boundary while Shehzad sweeps to fine leg past Irfan to the fence and through the covers for a couple of boundaries. Gladiators 20-0, 2 overs.
Wright slams a boundary off the last ball from Irfan to get the run-chase of Gladiators under way. Gladiators 6-0, 1 over.
United struggle on a slow wicket to make 128-7 after being put into bat with Russell being unbeaten on 35.
Gul takes a low catch as Misbah hooks straight to backward square leg. United 120-7, 18.5 overs.
Misbah-ul-Haq c Umar Gul b Anwar Ali 41 (28b 4x4 1x6)
Great over for United as Gul goes for 20 with Russell smashing three boundaries and a six. United 106-6, 18 overs.
Misbah explodes clobbering Babar over long-on for a maximum. United 86-6, 17 overs.
Russell clobbers Nabi for a towering six over midwicket. United 77-6, 16 overs.
Nawaz finishes with excellent figures of 4-0-13-4.
Nawaz claims his fourth wicket as Khalid hammers him down the throat of Nabi. United 63-6, 14.2 overs.
Imran Khalid c Nabi b Nawaz 4 (6b)
Nabi pouches a skier and Nawaz his third as Azam departs. United 56-5, 12.5 overs.
Babar Azam c Mohammad Nabi b Mohammad Nawaz 15 (18b 1x4)
Misbah gets going by lofting Babar over his head for a boundary.
Nawaz gets another one as Billings perishes attempting a reverse sweep. United 32-4, 9.1 overs.
Sam Billings b Mohammad Nawaz 2 (4b)
Nawaz gets the big wicket of Watson who swing and misses. United 28-3, 8 overs.
Shane Watson b Mohammad Nawaz 15 (27b 1x4)
England's Luke Wright takes a stinging catch at point to send back Amin. United 24-2, 6.2 overs.
Umar Amin c Wright b Umar Gul 0 (4b)
Babar draws first blood as Sharjeel sweeps straight to backward square leg where Nabi accepts gleefully. United 21-1, 5 overs.
Sharjeel Khan c Nabi b Zulfiqar Babar 10 (11b 1x6)
Sharjeel slams the first six of PSL giving Babar the charge and blasting him over midwicket.
Former Afghanistan skipper Nabi bowls a tidy over conceding just a single. United 12-0, 4 overs.
Watson hits the first boundary of PSL pulling Anwar to the midwicket fence.
Babar handed the new ball from the other end and nearly takes the wicket of Sharjeel who sweeps with Nabi making a valiant attempt to grab it by leaping horizontally. United 5-0, 2 overs.
Australian Shane Watson to open with Sharjeel Khan for Islamabad while Anwar Ali has been handed the new ball and begins with a maiden.
Sarfraz has won the toss and Quetta Gladiators have decided to bowl.
West Indian legend Viv Richards is looking forward to some fireworks in the tournament.
"I am very happy to be part of Quetta Gladiators. I am just hoping tonight we see some fireworks. I have always felt over the years, coming to Pakistan, they have amazing talent. This is a great platform. The pitch looks good. Dew may play a part in the match. Regardless of whether you bat or bowl first, the pitch looks good," said Richards.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has given the thumbs up to PSL even before a ball is bowled.
"It will showcase an academy of learning for Pakistan cricket. These leagues in Australia, South Africa, and India is coming up. You can work with these youngsters here. When we are senior players in different franchises, with international experience, the youngsters talk to us about experience. We are obligated to help out youngsters. We are here for two roles: to win and hand over our knowledge and experience to the youngsters. Our time is almost up, the 22-year olds, 23-year olds have still ten years left in them," said KP who will be turning out for the Gladiators.
The spectacular opening ceremony is over and we await the toss.
Former Pakistan captain and head coach of Quetta Gladiators Moin Khan has said that his team will play aggressive brand of cricket as they prepare to take on Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) opener at the Dubai International Stadium (DIS) on Thursday.
Moin delivered an inspiring pep talk before the team's final practice session on Wednesday as he stressed upon making full use of the session to prepare for the battles ahead.
The icon player Kevin Pietersen also took part in the training session on Wednesday after arriving on Tuesday night and looked really sharp.
"Quetta Gladiators would play attacking brand of cricket and I believe we've got a bunch of players who can certainly give tough time to any side in the PSL," Moin said.
"Many of the players are in good form so that is plus for us may it be Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Sarfaraz Ahmed while even the youngsters have been performing pretty well which include Mohammad Nawaz and Akbar ur Rehman. It is all about how you plan and how players execute it on the day. Hopefully, we would put up a good show on Thursday."
Sri Lankan all-rounder Thishara Perera has been ruled out of the competition as he would be involved in series against India while his compatriot Kumar Sangakkara would join the squad once free from his commitment in Masters Champions League (MCL).
England's Jade Dernbach is out as well after suffering a back injury. His replacement would be announced soon.
On the other hand, mentor Sir Vivian Richards of West Indies gave tips to the player and stated that Quetta is one of the strongest teams in the competition.
"The talent in Quetta Gladiators is immense and all that is required is to play as one unit. The support staff needs to give confidence to the players and they would win you the matches. Some of the Pakistani players in this squad our genuine match-winners but they are low on confidence and that is what I would try to improve," Richards.
"I've never been a big fan of technique because it all depends on your brain and the heart. If you're brave, you can do anything but you need to have a clean head. Personally, I'm really excited for this PSL campaign and hopefully we'll have a good one," he added.
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