Quetta Gladiators 161 for 3 (Watson 81*, U Akmal 44) beat Islamabad United 157 for 8 (Parnell 41, Tanvir 4-21, Fawad 3-15) by seven wickets
How the game played out
Career-best PSL figures from Sohail Tanvir coupled with the type of destructive innings Shane Watson has played so often in the PSL allowed Quetta Gladiators to maintain their unbeaten record as they trounced defending champions Islamabad United by seven wickets.
Quetta had begun dominantly, with Tanvir’s double-wicket maiden. Before long, Islamabad found themselves wobbling at 8 for 3, and it took spirited rearguards from Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, and most impressively Wayne Parnell – who smashed 41 off 20 – to dig them out of that hole. Despite the best efforts of Fawad Ahmed, the other star bowler alongside Tanvir, Islamabad demonstrated their batting depth, posting a very respectable 157.
Given the low-scoring games in Dubai on Saturday, it appeared a good total, but the brilliance of Umar Akmal turned it into something of a stroll. After Ahmed Shehzad and Rilee Rossouw perished early, he took charge with Watson happy to play second fiddle. The struggling Shadab Khan came in for the greatest punishment, several boundaries and one 98 metre six bringing the asking ate sharply down.
When an excellent catch from Cameron Delport finally dismissed Umar, the required rate was down to 7. Watson hadn’t yet entered top gear, and when he did, Islamabad found themselves about 25 runs short, his 55-ball 81 taking Quetta home with 10 balls to spare.
With Quetta having so dominated the start and finish, it’s hard to pinpoint a moment upon which the match turned. But Islamabad’s fate was sealed when Parnell bowled his first over to Umar. With Quetta at 33 for 2 and scoring at just 6.6, a win was by no means assured, but Umar smashing two fours and a six off that over set the template for how the chase would go. With Watson joining in, Islamabad simply didn’t bowl well enough to make this interesting.
Mohammad Sami bowled Watson on 29 only to realise he had done so off a no-ball, while Rumman Raees dropped the Australian off his own bowling when he was on 18. With the margins so fine, there was no way Islamabad could afford to make those mistakes.
Star of the day
Umar and Fawad played their parts, but it was Watson and Tanvir, with their combined age of 71, that put their side in pole position. Tanvir’s double-wicket maiden at the top was only the start of a near-perfect day from the left-armer, one where he took four wickets and claimed an incredible diving catch. Watson’s consistency with Quetta over the years has been brilliant, and it appears age hasn’t blunted his T20 abilities at all.
The big miss
Shadab knows he’s not doing well. He’d acknowledged it during an interview recently. But it took until now for Islamabad to find out how bad the problem is. The 20-year old legspinner was not as consistent in hitting his spots. The googly was often ill-judged and the quicker ones, as is often the case on slow UAE pitches, merely helped the batsmen’s cause. In low-scoring games like this one, Islamabad needed wickets from Pakistan’s star spin bowler. Instead, Shadab went at nine and a half without taking a wicket.
Where the teams stand
Quetta becomes the first team to keep a 100% winning record over multiple games. They top the table with two wins out of two, while Islamabad are second bottom, having won one of three.