(Quetta Gladiators 148 for 6 in 20 overs)
(Islamabad United 149 for 5 in 19.1 overs)
SHARJAH February 15: Islamabad United roared back in contention with a fine five wicket win over Quetta Gladiators in the first match at the Sharjah cricket ground, the seventh overall of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017.
Sam Billings was the star for United with an unbeaten 78 off 50 balls (Three sixes and Eight fours) as the Islamabad team went past the 149 run target on the first ball of the final over of the match.
Billings who opened the innings played some scintillating shots and stayed composed on one end despite the fall of regular wickets in the tricky chase on the slow Sharjah pitch.
United won the toss and succeeded in restricting the Gladiators to an eventually gettable score after opting to field first, they continued their trend of not losing any game in HBL PSL history after winning the toss.
Billings added 63 runs with Shane Watson (36 off 27 balls) in what turned out to be a match winning partnership for the fourth wicket.
United were in a spot of bother at 72 for three in the 11th over after Misbahul Haq (10) was dismissed by young spinner Hasan Khan but Watson and Billings displayed remarkable composure to sooth the nerves of their dressing room.
Gladiators Mohammad Nawaz with figures of two for 18 in four overs was the best bowler for the losing team.
Batting first the Gladiators posted what looked like a below par score of 148 for five in their allotted 20 overs. Opener Asad Shafiq scored a fighting 45 off 42 balls but batsmen around him kept getting out, failing to convert their starts into anything substantial.
Star player Kevin Pietersen endured his third successive failure in as many games as he was sent packing for a duck by a rapid yorker by Mohammad Sami while opener Ahmed Shehzad (26 off 15 balls) who got off to a flying start through a spate of boundaries also had his promising start nipped in the bud.
In form batsman Rilee Rossouw (7) who had bailed his team out of trouble in the previous two games fell trying to clear the field while captain Sarfraz Ahmed (12) also fell attempting a big hit.
Sri Lankan import Thisara Perera (27) and Bangladeshi import Mahmudullah (29 off 20) who was making his PSL debut played some attacking shots to take their team to their eventual tally of 148.
Mohammad Sami and Shane Watson took two wickets each and played a pivotal role in restricting the powerful Gladiators batting line-up.