Match Report

United win the first ever PSL after a professional performance against the Gladiators! The final of the first ever HBL PSL kicked off in great style in front of a packed house in Dubai. The anticipation was finally over; the excitement level was high and the pressure indescribable. Islamabad United won the toss and chose to field first, with Bismillah Khan and Ahmed Shehzad opening the innings for the Gladiators. Irfan bowled the first over and picked up Bismillah for a duck on the third ball of the innings as he edged it towards Brad Haddin, giving United a great start. Pietersen was next, and looked to take on all the bowlers. He smashed Irfan for a glorious six towards deep midwicket, before Shehzad began to play a few shots of his own too. Just as these two were building a steady partnership for Quetta, Pietersen was dismissed by Andre Russell in the sixth over, courtesy a stunning catch in the deep by Asif Ali. The legendary Kumar Sangakkara came out next and started rotating the strike beautifully, looking happy to support Shehzad who continued to bat well. After the first ten overs, Gladiators were 68/2. With these two batsmen well set, Imran Khalid dropped a sitter which would have sent Shehzad packing in the 11th over, a mistake which was punished by the Gladiators. Sangakkara also picked up the run rate and attacked the spinners, and the pair had set the right platform and recovered well after losing those early wickets. There was no stopping Sangakkara once he decided to step up, whacked Sami for a six, then took Dwayne Smith to the cleaners and continued to dominate the bowlers, racing to his half century in only 30 deliveries in the process. He was finally dismissed by Russell after a phenomenal innings, after putting on 87 runs from 56 balls partnership for the third wicket. Shehzad also completed his half century from 35 balls with the Gladiators looking strong at 129/3 after 15 overs. Nawaz was bowled out cheaply by Badree, with the skipper Sarfraz Ahmed coming in to the middle. Shehzad played a few more boundaries before departing in the 17th over after scoring a spectacular 64 from 39 balls. Islamabad fought back well in the death overs after that wicket, took regular wickets and tightened the screws. Quetta scored 15 runs in the last over to finish their innings at 174/7, and with their bowling attack, they would have been pretty happy with that effort going in to the break. Dwayne Smith and the only centurion of the tournament, Sharjeel Khan opened the innings for United. Smith wasted little time and started dealing only in boundaries to give Islamabad a flying start. He smashed Anwar Ali for back to back boundaries; he then hit Nathan McCullum for plenty of runs, as he went after all the bowlers and smashed them all over the park. Sharjeel played the supporting role to Smith, punishing any loose deliveries in the process with Islamabad United off to a dream start at 46/0 after five overs. Sharjeel was bowled by McCullum in the sixth over, with Haddin coming to the middle. Smith went about his business responsibly and completed his half century in only 32 balls. Nawaz bowled brilliantly and stopped the runs for a while, with Anwar Ali dropping Smith in the 10th over off his bowling. After the first ten overs United were 83/1, looking well set to chase the total down and be crowned champions. Haddin also began to hit some big shots as the match seemed to slip away from the Gladiators. They needed to break this partnership soon, with both batsmen comfortable on the crease. Elliott was smashed for two sixes in the 13th over, with United racing towards the target with ease. Smith was finally caught by Pietersen off Zulfiqar Babar in the 16th over, after an impressive knock of 73 runs from 51 balls. Cheema bowled out Russell next as Gladiators clawed their way back in to the game. Khalid Latif and Brad Haddin seemed unfazed by those quick wickets and continued to hit boundaries to take United home. United won comfortably in the end by 6 wickets in the second last over, becoming the first ever champions of the HBL PSL! Haddin remained not out 61 from 39 balls, with the Islamabad camp running on to the field to celebrate a much deserved victory. What an amazing tournament this was, next year should be just as exciting! Full Scorecard

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Sharjeel scores PSL’s first century to take United through to the final This was the most important match of the tournament so far with these two teams battling it out for a place in the final against Quetta Gladiators. Peshawar Zalmi won the toss and chose to field first, with Sharjeel Khan and Dwayne Smith opening the innings for Islamabad United. It was a steady start for the batting side, with Sharjeel taking the initiative early on and began to stroke the ball beautifully. Smith found it hard to adjust in the middle and kept eating up balls, piling the pressure on his partner. Sharjeel took on the responsibility and delivered in style. He hit all the bowlers for huge sixes all over the ground. Every single bowler faced Sahrjeel’s wrath! He spared no one and played arguably the best innings of the entire tournament. There were two more additions to the ‘Pepsi catch a crore’ competition, as the mighty left handed batsman kept sending the ball into the stands. Afridi, Asghar, Tait and Wahab were all taken to the cleaners, while Smith failed to get any momentum and kept Zalmi in the game with an ugly innings. Islamabad United raced to 108/0 after 13 overs, courtesy Sharjeel. Smith’s horrible innings finally came to an end off Shaun Tait after he scored 18 runs from an unforgivable 37 deliveries. Tait bowled out the in form Brad Haddin on the very next ball with a beautiful in-swinging yorker. Khalid Latif was next for United as Zalmi looked to restrict United, but Sharjeel was unstoppable and kept going about his business in style. Everything he touched went away to the fence!  He raced to the first century of the HBL PSL in the 16th over, after facing only 50 deliveries! Latif continued to play the supporting role, while we witnessed one of the best T20 innings from Sharjeel who seemed to be playing a different game from all his counterparts. He was finally run out in the last over after scoring a legendary 117 from only 62 balls! Latif remained not out at 28 from 21, as Islamabad United posted a daunting total of 176/3 in their allotted overs. This total could have been a lot more had Smith not played that innings the way he did, but Sharjeel Khan was the man of the moment and peaked at the right time for United, playing a knock that will be remembered for a long time. Dawid Malan and Kamran Akmal opened the innings for Peshawar Zalmi, with Hafeez missing out on that slot for the first time in the tournament. Samuel Badree bowled a maiden second over to pile the pressure on the batsmen. Akmal took on Irfan and put him away for plenty of runs soon after and was looking in good touch. Islamabad United got Malan cheaply, who was caught behind the stumps by Haddin off Badree in the fourth over, while Akmal continued to score runs quickly. He went after the pacers before hitting Badree for a glorious six straight down the ground. Hafeez was also sent back to the pavilion cheaply, as Zalmi failed to get any momentum in their chase. Other than Akmal, no other batsman turned up for Zalmi as they kept losing their grip on the match. The dangerous Akmal (45 from 32 balls) was stumped by the keeper off Imran Khalid, who bowled brilliantly and made life difficult for all batsmen. Peshawar Zalmi were down and out at 68/3 after eleven overs. Imran Khalid put the match beyond doubt in the 13th over. He picked up the crucial wicket of Brad Hodge who miscued his shot towards the fielder at long off, before bowling out Darren Sammy three balls later with a peach of a delivery. Wickets kept tumbling and the required run rate climbed up. Imran Khalid ended up picking four wickets and made it all too comfortable for United in the field. Not a single batsman fired at the death, with Russell, Irfan and Sami all picking up a wicket towards the end. With the required rate at 17, Afridi hit a few big shots but there was no way Zalmi could make it home as they stood at 110/8 after 17 overs. He too was dismissed in the 18th over after hitting a few big shots, before Russell bowled out Asghar for a golden duck to finish the match off in style, as the Zalmis were all out for 126. Sharjeel was awarded the man of the match award as Islamabad United capped off a comfortable win by 50 runs, and will now face Quetta Gladiators in the final on Tuesday. This was heartbreaking for Peshawar Zalmi, who would be quite happy with the cricket they played in the entire tournament.   Full Scorecard

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Sami dazzles Karachi Kings to eliminate them from the competition It was time for the second playoff in the HBLPSL between Islamabad United and Karachi Kings, with the winner from this game playing Peshawar Zalmi for a place in the final. United won the toss and elected to field first against the Kings’ whose batsmen have been a little inconsistent during this tournament. Things got off to a really slow start for the batting side as they could only manage to score 2 runs from the first two overs. Lendl Simmons kicked up his gear and dispatched Mohammad Irfan for boundaries all over the ground, scoring 18 runs from the third over. That was perhaps the only time during the first ten overs that Karachi’s batting looked to be in control because it all fell apart afterwards. Sami bowled out Riki Wessels in the fourth over with a fuller delivery, while Simmons followed in the next over as he was caught and bowled by Andre Russell. Karachi just could not get going at all as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Shoaib Malik was caught behind for a duck off Irfan’s bowling and Iftikhar Ahmed’s troubled stay in the middle also came to an end courtesy Samuel Badree. Karachi Kings were a miserable 45/4 after the first ten overs. Karachi’s new captain Ravi Bopara, who has been sensational in this tournament with both bat and ball was joined by Ryan Ten Doeschate in the middle. Both batsmen finally got a little partnership going but none of them could pile any pressure on United’s bowlers. They kept wickets intact for a while but could not pick up the run rate. The bowling attack was spearheaded by Sami, who bowled superbly and dismissed the dangerous Bopara (37 from 36 balls) with Dwayne Smith taking a brilliant catch at deep square leg. Doeschate departed a ball later, with United firmly in control as Karachi were 89/6 after 17 overs. Sami struck back in his last over to dismiss Imad Wasim and Usama Mir in successive deliveries, getting to his five wicket haul and ending with phenomenal bowling figures of 4-0-8-5! He singlehandedly tore apart Karachi’s batting lineup, and they could only manage a disappointing 111/9, which was the lowest total of the tournament. Dwayne Smith and Sharjeel Khan opened the innings for Islamabad, knowing that they only needed to keep wickets in hand. Amir started off with a great first over, only conceding 1 run. Smith freed his arms in the next over and dispatched Sohail Khan for two boundaries. Karachi got their much needed early wicket as Sharjeel flicked one off his legs towards the man at short mid wicket off Sohail Khan’s bowling. Brad Haddin was next in for United, and he built on his good form in this tournament with some solid batting. Smith and Haddin got a partnership flowing and went after the spinners. Haddin was especially impressive and played some exquisite shots, timing the ball really well. Karachi Kings needed a miracle to rescue this match, with Islamabad looking comfortable at 81/1 after the first ten overs. Smith and Haddin batted with ease and looked eager to finish the match off early. Haddin raced to his half century in only 27 deliveries, as he continues to enjoy his time in the HBL PSL. Dwayne Smith also reached his half century with a spectacular boundary to finish the match off in style as Islamabad United capped off a comfortable victory by 9 wickets with five overs to spare. Karachi is out of the tournament, while Peshawar will face Islamabad tomorrow to see who makes it to the final. Islamabad United seem to be peaking at the right time, should be an exciting match tomorrow. Full Scorecard

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Gladiators are through to the final after winning by 1 run in an epic encounter! The much anticipated playoff between undoubtedly the best two teams of the tournament kicked off in front of a packed audience in Dubai. With a place in the final on the line, Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to field first. Zalmi’s opening bowlers were on song with the Gladiators getting off to a disastrous start! The young Bismillah Khan who impressed in his previous outing was dismissed on the second ball of the innings by Hasan Ali. Shehzad followed him back to the pavilion in the fourth over as he was stumped by Kamran Akmal off Mohammad Asghar, with Quetta struggling at 11/2. It was up to the legendary Kumar Sangakkara and Kevin Pietersen to rescue their team in this crunch encounter and both batsmen built their innings in glorious fashion. Pietersen took charge and took on the bowlers with some big hits, while Sangakkara displayed his class with beautiful cricketing shots to keep the runs flowing. Tait was put away for three boundaries by Sangakkara in the sixth over as the pair kicked up their gear to dominate Zalmi’s bowling attack. Pietersen went about his business and hit Darren Sammy for back to back sixes. The partnership went along at a run rate of over 9 an over, and put on 79 runs before Sangakkara miscued one shot and was caught in the deep by Bairstow. After the first twelve overs, Quetta Gladiators were 90/3. Peshawar Zalmi struck back once that partnership was broken. Sarfraz was caught and bowled for a duck by Afridi, and Pietersen (53 from 38 balls) followed one over later as he was caught at mid off by Hasan Ali off Shaun Tait. Without a set batsman on the crease, Gladiators struggled towards the end of the innings and failed to finish strongly. Mohammad Nawaz hit a few shots for six, but his stay came to an early end as he too was picked up after scoring 20 runs from 18 deliveries. Zalmi began to dominate after that dismissal and took wickets at will. The Gladiators’ tail crumbled under pressure and they lost three wickets in three balls, as they were all out for 133. This total was easily 20-30 runs short of what they could have achieved, and Zalmi had one foot in the final with that performance in the field. With Tamim having left the HBL PSL, Kamran Akmal opened the innings for Zalmi along with Mohammad Hafeez. The Gladiators needed quick wickets early on to have any chance of defending their modest total. Aizaz Cheema was hit for plenty of runs in the third over, with Peshawar looking firmly in control of the match. It all changed when Anwar Ali bowled a peach of a delivery, an inswinging off cutter to bowl out Akmal in the fifth over. It all started happening in Dubai when the talented Nawaz came in to bowl a magical sixth over. He bowled out Hafeez with a clever arm ball which slided in with good bounce on his first ball. He followed that up with one of the balls of the tournament to bowl out Brad Hodge for a golden duck on the very next delivery and suddenly the Gladiators were back in it with Nawaz on a hat trick! He didn’t get there as Bairstow blocked the next ball, but the damage had been done with Zalmi lurking at 32/3 after six overs. Shahid Yousuf and Jonny Bairstow were held back by the bowlers in the next few overs and struggled to find their feet. Nawaz kept bowling exquisitely and was hard to put away for runs, while Elliott joined in on the act and built up the pressure on the batsmen. He bowled out Bairstow to put Quetta in control of proceedings and dismissed Yousuf in his next over, as Zalmi’s batsmen could not handle the pressure and were in dire straits at 68-5 after thirteen overs. Things got out of hands for Peshawar when their captain Shahid Afridi became Elliott’s third victim and fell cheaply after scoring only 2 runs. Darren Sammy was in the middle and knew it was up to him to take Zalmi home. He took the initiative and took on all the bowlers with some mighty hits all around the ground, with Wahab Riaz supporting him on the other end. He raced to 32 runs from 29 balls before being caught at long on with Nawaz picking up another wicket. Sammy’s efforts put Zalmi back in the match, as they required 21 runs from the last two overs. Hasan Ali hit his first ball in the HBL PSL for a beautiful boundary off Anwar Ali to put pressure back on the Gladiators. Wahab flicked another boundary in the same over as Zalmi gained momentum and clawed their way back in the match. Anwar bowled a poor second last over, leaving Zalmi to get 8 runs from the last 6 balls. Wahab punished Aizaz’s full toss and hit him for four on the very first ball! With 3 runs needed from 3 balls, Hasan Ali lofted one up in the air and was caught safely by Cheema. Wahab fell on the very next ball with the game changing hands once again! There was intense drama in the middle as Zalmi needed 3 runs from the last ball with Cheema on a hat trick! Cheema held off the Asghar on the last ball, sending Quetta Gladiators through to the final winning the match by 1 run! The Gladiators were ecstatic, with Sir Vivian Richards running out on to the field to congratulate everyone. Quetta Gladiators are in the final as they continue to dazzle in the HBL PSL. Who will join them? We’ll find out soon enough. Full Scorecard

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<strong>Qalandars eliminated from the tournament sending Kings through to the playoffs</strong> This was a must win game for Lahore Qalandars if they were to qualify for the playoffs as failure to do so would send Karachi Kings through. Lahore Qalandars were without the injured Chris Gayle while Islamabad United gave some of their first team players a rest after already having sealed qualification, with Dwayne Smith making his debut in the HBL PSL. United won the toss and decided to field first, and got off to a spectacular start! Qalandars’ top order crumbled under pressure as their captain Azhar Ali was dismissed by Mohammad Irfan in the first over. Rumman Raees picked up Cameron Delport next with some fine bowling, and Irfan struck again in the third over and sent Muhammad Rizwan packing, with Qalandars off to a horrific start at 6/3! They were down and out before Umar Akmal, who is in the form of his life, was joined by Sohaib Maqsood as both batsmen looked to resurrect the innings in this crucial encounter. The rotated the strike well and picked their moments well as they started to build momentum. With ten overs gone, Qalandars were 54/3. They took their time before playing their shots and built a good partnership together. Runs started to flow at a steady rate as Maqsood took charge, while Akmal supported him well on the other end. Karachi Kings’ supporters would have been hoping for this partnership to break soon and their prayers were answered as Masood was dismissed by Irfan in the 16th over, after scoring an important 57 runs from 44 balls. The pair put on 97 runs for the fourth wicket partnership, helping Lahore to get to 107/4 after 17 overs. Akmal launched off in the last few overs to ensure Qalandars finished strongly. He struck the ball wonderfully and dealt only in boundaries, fit for a batsman in form and propelled Lahore to a fighting total of 150/5 after their allotted overs, a total they were thrilled with as it seemed improbable at one time. He remained not out after scoring an incredible 72 runs from 49 deliveries, bringing his side back in to the competition with everything to play for in the second half. Lahore Qalandars needed to pick up early wickets to have any chance of defending their total on this pitch, and that’s exactly what they did. Zia Ul Haq was in great form and dismissed the dangerous Dwayne Smith in the second over. He struck again in his next over to get rid of Sharjeel Khan who skied one in the air forcing a good catch from Rizwan. After five overs, United were 36/2 as Qalandars started well. Brad Haddin and Khalid Latif took it up on themselves to build a partnership and steady the ship. Haddin played exquisitely and looked comfortable on the crease, while Latif continued to build on his good form and kept the runs flowing. Islamabad United got back in control of proceedings through this partnership and looked favourites to win half way through their innings, with their score at 84/2 after ten overs. Lahore finally got their breakthrough in the 13th over, courtesy a massive confusion in the middle between the batsman and Khalid Latif was run out. Misbah came out to bat and got off the mark with a beautiful pull for four towards deep midwicket. He was hitting the ball nicely and it seemed as if he was in a hurry to finish the match off! Just as United were cruising, Haddin was run out after a well made 54 from 42 deliveries, but it was a little too late. Misbah got his team over the line as he remained not out for 38 runs from 19 balls. Islamabad United capped off a comfortable win by 5 wickets, eliminating Lahore Qalandars from the tournament, much to the relief of Karachi Kings.

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Brad Hodge plays a classic knock to brush aside Karachi Kings Karachi Kings needed a victory in this match to ensure qualification to the playoffs; otherwise they would have had to rely on Lahore Qalandars losing their game to go through. Karachi won the toss and chose to bat first, and got off to a steady start through Lendl Simmons and Shahzaib Hassan. Both batsmen played through the first five overs nicely with the Kings looking solid at 31/0. The opening partnership was broken in the 6th over by the young medium pacer Hasan Ali making his debut, as he found Shahzaib’s edge and produced an easy catch for Kamran Akmal. Zalmi tightened the screws from then on with some clever bowling, while Simmons was the only batsman who had turned up Kings. Wiki Wessels, also making his debut in the HBL PSL in this match, was run out cheaply and made way for Shoaib Malik to come out in the middle. Peshawar finally picked up the well set Simmons, who was bowled by Shahid Afridi in the 11th over after an important 49 runs from 37 balls, with Karachi at 83/3 at the time. None of the batsmen could really get going for Karachi Kings after Simmons’ departure as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Malik was caught at short fine leg off Aamir Yamin, a little controversially as the replay showed that it may have been a no ball for overstepping, but the third umpire thought otherwise as Karachi were faltering under pressure. Shakib Al Hasan’s troubles with the bat continued, as he was dismissed cheaply by Darren Sammy. Peshawar kept up the pressure while Karachi’s best performer Bopara was next. He managed to score some runs but did not seem to really get going as he too was sent packing after scoring 23 from 22 balls. Bilawal Bhatti scored a few shots in the end of the innings to take Karachi to a respectable 152/7 in their allotted overs, as Zalmi’s second string bowling attack put on a fine show. In a must win situation, Karachi would have hoped for a few more runs and knew they needed early wickets to have any chance of winning the game. Mohammad Amir came to bowl the first over in surprisingly overcast conditions in Dubai! It was an action packed over as Hafeez dispatched the first ball of the innings towards the point boundary. Amir came back strongly and bowled impeccably and bowled four consecutive dot balls, before dismissing Hafeez as he skied it up in the air for an easy catch towards Wessels. Rain was still lurking around with the possibility of D/L coming in to play. Sohail Khan bowled a tight over to follow up as Dawid Malan and James Allenby were finding it difficult to get any runs with Karachi’s attack bowlers in full swing. Zalmi could only manage 14/1 after four overs as we had a game on our hands. Bilawal Bhatti picked up Malan in the next over as Karachi Kings found themselves ahead in case it rained. Allenby kept the runs ticking as the experienced Brad Hodge came to support him in the middle. Allenby was caught leg before by Usama Mir after scoring 31 runs from 29 balls, as Zalmi were 61/3 after eleven overs, with Karachi looking comfortable in case D/L method came in to the equation. Shahid Afridi was next to depart without having any impact courtesy Bilawal Bhatti, as things got from bad to worse for Zalmi, and even more so for Lahore Qalandars as their progression depended on Karachi Kings’ losing. Brad Hodge kicked up his gear and there was still hope for Zalmi as long as he remained out there. He went berserk in the 16th over as he whacked Usama Mir for 23 runs in that over, including a hat trick of sixes to bring up his half century in style. After that over, the match was evenly poised with Zalmi needing 32 runs from the last 24 balls with five wickets in hand, as the hard hitting Darren Sammy joined Hodge on the pitch. Amir was hit for 13 runs on the very next over as Peshawar were all set to chase down the target with Hodge playing a classical innings. Zalmi finished it off comfortably in the 19th over with Brad Hodge playing one of the best knocks of the tournament, scoring an unprecedented 85 from 45 deliveries, with Karachi Kings desperately hoping for Lahore Qalandars to lose their game against Islamabad United to have any hopes of qualifying for the play offs. Brad Hodge deservedly won the man of the match award, as Zalmi continued their winning ways. Full Scorecard

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Nabi hits a boundary on the last ball to secure victory for Quetta by two wickets in dramatic fashion! This was a crucial match for Lahore Qalandars if they were to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs. The Gladiators won the toss and elected to field first, as we returned to Dubai for the last few stages of the HBL PSL. Azhar Ali and Chris Gayle opened the innings, and the later took charge from the very first over. Gayle was due a performance in the tournament and he picked this match to finally deliver. He smashed sixes at will and spared no one from the Gladiators’ bowling attack. Anwar Ali, Umar Gul and Zulfiqar Babar were all dispatched for huge sixes as Gayle began to dominate and reminded the world what he can do. Azhar kept supporting him on the other end by rotating the strike nicely, and would wait for a bad ball to hit some shots of his own. Gayle reached his half century in only 28 balls, as Lahore got off to a flying start in this must win encounter. Azhar Ali too began to hit a few big shots as Lahore were a staggering 100/0 after the first ten overs. Gayle (60 from 34) departed in the 11th over, much to Quetta’s relief after trying to hit Zulfiqar Babar for another six, but the damage had already been done. Azhar also completed his half century in the 13th over from 37 deliveries, setting Lahore for a massive total. He was dismissed by Grant Elliott in the 16th over, as Dwayne Bravo and Umar Akmal were in the middle to finish off strongly for Lahore. Quetta’s usually reliable bowlers were also to blame for conceding so many runs, as they kept bowling full tosses and loose deliveries at regular intervals. Akmal played well in the last few overs, smashing Anwar Ali for three consecutive sixes in the second last over and completed his half century in only 23 deliveries! Qalandars ran riot on the Gladiators and posted a mammoth total of 201/2 in their twenty overs, which was the highest target of the competition so far. Lahore’s big names performed at a critical time for their team, and went in to the break satisfied with their effort. Needing to chase down a monumental total, Quetta Gladiators wasted little time and started in great style. The young Bismillah Khan opened the innings and looked to be in great touch. He took on the bowlers early on and started dealing in boundaries, with Lahore running out of answers to stop him. Ahmad Shehzad fell only in the third over as he was caught leg before by Ehsan Adil. From then on, the youngster Bismillah stole the show with some sublime hitting, and was supported well by the experience Kevin Pietersen on the other end. Both batsmen played glorious shots with the ball coming nicely on to the bat, and they made sure they capitalized. Quetta raced to an astonishing 73/1 after five overs and well set to chase down the target easily. Pietersen was scoring runs quickly and smashing boundaries with ease as Bismillah raced to his half century in only 24 balls. Everything seemed to be working for the Gladiators until Dwayne Bravo came in to bowl the 9th over of the innings. Pietersen (34 from 21) was caught at deep midwicket by Umar Akmal and Bismillah lofted one for Rizwan on the very next delivery after an impressive innings, as Bravo turned the momentum back in Lahore’s favour. After ten overs, Quetta were 107/3 after the first ten overs. The legendary Kumar Sangakkara was joined by Quetta’s captain Sarfraz Ahmed in the middle to chase down the remaining runs. Sangakkara was given a lifeline early on in his innings as he was caught in the deep off Zohaib Khan but it was deemed a no ball as the bowler hit the stumps in his stride before delivering the ball! Sangakkara went along with his innings comfortably from then on, with some elegant shots along the way. Both batsmen ran really well between the wickets and kept the runs ticking. Just as it seemed Quetta were in control, Ehsan Adil bowled out Sarfraz and the dangerous Sangakkara (37 from 26) in the 16th over as the Lahore Qalandars were ecstatic! Grant Elliott was caught by Adil off Kevon Cooper in the very next over, and suddenly the tables turned. Adil returned to dismiss Nawaz, as everything he touched was turning into gold. Quetta needed 27 runs from the last 12 balls with three wickets in hand, with Anwar Ali and Mohammad Nabi on strike. Dwayne Bravo bowled the second last over and was greeted with a huge six towards long off by Mohammad Nabi, who followed that up with a four as the stage was set for a thrilling finish. Anwar Ali was caught by Umar Akmal in the same over with the momentum shifting back and forth, with both teams in with a chance to come out victorious. Quetta needed 15 runs from the last over, with the spinner Zohaib Khan given the responsibility to steer Lahore towards a much needed win. Nabi was not in a gracious mood as he hit him for 10 runs from the first 3 balls. Quetta needed 3 runs from the last ball and Mohammad Nabi broke Lahori hearts and hit Khan for four to snatch the game away! This defeat almost certainly means that the Qalandars miss out on the playoffs, while Quetta Gladiators are one of the favourites to win the title. Full Scorecard

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Afridi bowls historic spell and takes 5/7 as Zalmi cruise past the Gladiators The stage was buzzing with excitement for this top of the table clash between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators. After already having sealed their place in the play offs, Quetta rested many of their first team players, with Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Anwar Ali were all given some time off and Kumar Sangakkar came to play his first match in the HBL PSL. Quetta Gladiators won the toss and elected to bat first, which was the first time they were batting first in the entire tournament. Asad Shafiq also made his debut in the league and came to open the innings with Ahmad Shehzad. The openers got off to a flying start, as Shehzad was hitting the ball cleanly. Shots began to flow and the Gladiators were cruising until Wahab came on to bowl a magical 5th over of the innings. He was dispatched by Shehzad for six before bowling him out on the very next ball. The intensity was sky high which clearly showed, as there was an altercation between the two in the middle, with the umpires having to step in to cool things off. Kumar Sangakkara’s introduction to the PSL was a disappointing one, as he was bowled for a duck in the same over and the Zalmis were absolutely overjoyed! To make matters worse for Quetta, Zalmi’s captain Shahid Afridi came on to bowl and what a magical spell it was! He dismissed Akbar Ur Rehman first as he miscued his shot for an easy catch towards Shahid Yousuf. Afridi ran out Asad Shafiq brilliantly off his own bowling as Quetta’s batsmen looked vulnerable on the crease. In the tenth over, Mohammad Nawaz was caught leg before by Afridi, and two balls later, Sarfraz Ahmed dragged on to his stumps as ‘Lala’ looked absolutely unplayable. Quetta were rattled but Afridi put the final nail in the coffin in his last over as he got rid of Mohammad Nabi and Elton Chigumbura in quick succession and was on a hat-trick. He almost got there but Umar Gul blocked the ball well to prevent that from happening. Afridi finished with phenomenal figures of 4-1-7-5, as the Gladiators were down and out at 66/9 after 13 overs. Grant Elliott was still in the middle along with Zulfiqar Babar, and these two put on a world record partnership for the 10th wicket in T20 cricket. Elliott played some impressive shots and Babar also surprised many with the bat, charging down the ground to dispatch Asghar for a beautiful six. Elliott was dismissed after an impressive 40 from 29 balls, as Quetta were bowled out for 129 in their allotted overs. Mohammad Hafeez and Dawid Malan opened the innings for Peshawar Zalmi as Tamim Iqbal was rested for this match, and got off to a confident start. Zalmi were never really threatened by that total as the Gladiators failed to take any early wickets. Hafeez and Malan got into their stride early and started the stroking the ball comfortably, putting the match beyond all doubt early on. Hafeez was dismissed after the pair had already put 60 on the board. Malan remained not out at 60 runs from 52 balls to finish the innings with eight balls to spare, as Peshawar Zalmi defeated Quetta Gladiators comfortably by 8 wickets. Both these teams are now tied on points at the top of the table, while the other teams continue to play catch up with them. Afridi was awarded the man of the match for his sublime performance, one that we all will remember for a very long time. Full Scorecard

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Imran Khalid and Asif Ali play well to give Islamabad United a crucial win Islamabad United and Karachi Kings have not had the campaign they would have wanted, with only two wins under the belt for both teams so far. Misbah Ul Haq won the toss and chose to field first, a decision which paid huge dividends for his side. James Vince opened the innings for Karachi with Shazaib Hasan, who was playing his first match of the tournament. Vince was dismissed by Imran Khalid in the second over, as he chipped a comfortable catch for Misbah at short cover. Imad Wasim was caught leg before two deliveries later, as Khalid got Islamabad United off to a dream start. Shahzaib took charge of the innings and started scoring quick runs with Karachi looking to rebuild from that dreadful start. He was joined by the ever consistent Ravi Bopara in the middle. Just as the partnership seemed to be kicking off nicely, Shahzaib was caught behind by Brad Haddin off Mohammad Sami, who bowled beautifully during the innings. Karachi Kings were 53/3 after the first ten overs. Mushfiqur Rahim joined Bopara next, and got runs flowing with some clever batting. Bopara kept rotating the strike but could not really get going the way we’ve come to expect from him in this tournament. Mushfiqur played a few good shots and raced to 33 runs from 27 balls before he was bowled out by Andre Russell in the 17th over, bringing an end to a 60 runs partnership. Karachi just could not manage to finish strongly, as Bopara was also dismissed after a struggling 45 from 50 deliveries. United bowlers were on song and bowled brilliantly throughout the innings, restricting Kings to a modest total of 128/5 after their allotted overs. Islamabad went in to the break feeling very confident, as they were half way towards a crucial win. United’s innings started off dramatically, Sohail Khan got the explosive Sharjeel Khan in the second over, who found Shahzeb for a comfortable catch. Andre Russell opened the innings instead of the injured Shane Watson, who will no longer participate in the competition. Russell faced a ferocious Mohammad Amir in full swing, who he dispatched for six straight away. Amir fired back with two back to back bouncers, forcing Russell to get deeper in to his crease, before bowling a wide fuller delivery which deceived the batsman totally and he ended up hitting the stumps with his bat! Sohail sent Brad Haddin back to the pavilion in the very next over as the Karachi camp was ecstatic! They needed to pick up early wickets and that’s exactly what they did. With 19/3, we had a match on our hands. Misbah Ul Haq came on to the crease after being disappointed by his top order batsmen once again, a situation he is all too familiar with. He steadied the innings and built a partnership with the talented Khalid Latif, who took his time to settle in before dealing only in sixes. These two batsmen put together 63 runs for the fourth wicket to put Islamabad in control before Khalid was dismissed by Usama Mir in the 14th over. The young Asif Ali came on to bat for United and saw Misbah (38 from 38 balls) dismissed with only a few overs remaining, as Karachi Kings clawed their way back into the game. Asif took charge of the innings and smashed away Bopara for runs, before finishing the match off in glorious fashion with a six towards long on, as Islamabad United sealed their victory by five wickets. Asif remained not out after a blistering 31 from 17 runs in an impressive performance. Karachi Kings need to come back strongly in their next match against Peshawar Zalmi on the 17th of February. Full Scorecard

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Delport shines for Lahore as they seal victory by 4 runs in a thrilling encounter Lahore Qalandars desperately needed a win to have any hopes of making it through to the play offs, against a Peshawar Zalmi side which is being billed by experts as favourites to win the tournament. Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to field first. Azhar Ali was back to lead the Qalandars and opened the innings along with Chris Gayle. Junaid Khan bowled the first over was Zalmi and there was drama straight away! He got Lahore’s danger man Chris Gayle once again for a duck, with a fuller delivery that kept low and hit him on the pads. Gayle was extremely unfortunate with that decision, as hawkeye showed that the ball would have swayed down the leg stump. With that dismissal, Zalmi were ecstatic as Cameron Delport made his way in the middle next. He supported Azhar well in the beginning before taking charge as Lahore picked up momentum and began to score some runs. Darren Sammy picked up Azhar in the 9th over courtesy an easy catch for Tamim Iqbal at deep wicket. Umar Akmal joined Delport in the middle, and these two explosive batsmen let loose and put on an amazing partnership. Both batsmen began to hit the ball cleanly and took on every single bowler. Delport pulled away Wahab Riaz for a spectacular six, while Akmal only dealt in boundaries on the other end. They put on a 100 run partnership before Cameron Delport departed after an impressive knock (78 from 61) in the very last over as he tried to hit one for six off Junaid Khan. Akmal finished the innings with a boundary and remained not out at 52 from 31 balls, as Lahore Qalandars put up a competitive total of 164/3 in their allotted overs. The tournament’s best opening pair, Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Hafeez started proceedings smoothly for Peshawar Zalmi with some good stroke play early on. It seemed they were going to put on another big partnership together until Azhar Ali took one of the catches of the tournament to dismiss Hafeez cheaply off Kevon Cooper. Tamim kept timing the ball beautifully, with some elegant shots all over the ground. He was joined by Kamran Akmal who looked to play second fiddle, as Tamim was in the form of his life. Just as he was beginning to look dangerous, Tamim (30 from 22) was dismissed by Delport as he played a lazy shot straight into the keeper’s hands. Dawid Malan stepped in next, and both batsmen took their time before they started to score some runs. After spending some time in the middle, Malan dispatched Zohaib Khan for a glorious six, as it was anybody’s match with Peshawar Zalmi at 78/2 after their first ten overs. Kamran Akmal fell in the 11th over as Azhar took another catch, this time off Delport’s bowling as Afridi came on to bat with the crowd going wild. Once again, Afridi went back as quickly as he came in, after hitting one high up in the air as Delport took his third wicket, in what was turning out to be a great day for him with both bat and ball. Things were looking bleak for Zalmi before Shahid Yousuf and Malan lashed out at Adnan Rasool in the 14th over, putting him away for 20 runs and the stage was set for a thrilling finish. With five overs remaining, Zalmi needed 42 runs with Malan looking well set. Kevon Cooper fielded brilliantly off his own bowling to run out Yousuf as Qalandars began to pile on the pressure in the last few overs. Sammy was next and was dismissed by lofting an easy catch to Zohaib Khan at cover in the same over as Zalmi lost two crucial wickets in quick succession. Malan was caught leg before by Kevon Cooper in the 19th over as the Qalandars celebrated hard sniffing a much needed victory. Ehsan Adil bowled the last over as Zalmi needed 16 runs with Wahab and Junaid batting. Wahab smashed him for a six, and Zalmi needed 6 runs from the last ball to seal victory. Adil bowled a low full toss which Wahab missed, as Qalandars’ fans breathed a sigh of relief! Lahore won the match by 4 runs and can still make it to the play offs, much to the relief of all their fans as another thrilling encounter came to an end in the HBL PSL. Full Scorecard

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Elliott dazzles Karachi’s batsmen as Quetta continue their winning ways The high flying Quetta Gladiators took on Karachi Kings for the second time in the tournament, after winning their first encounter comfortably by 8 wickets. Karachi won the toss and elected to bat first, as Quetta are still yet to bat first in this tournament after six matches! Nauman Anwar and Shoaib Malik opened the innings and could not get into their stride early on. Anwar Ali bowled Nauman in the 3rd over, who continues to struggle in the tournament. Malik was joined by Vince with Karachi needing a partnership to set the platform for a big total. They scored at a steady rate but could never really get going, before Vince was bowled by Elliott in the 10th over after scoring 23 runs from 17 balls. Malik tried leading from the front and was the only batsman who got some runs, before he was dismissed by Nabi after scoring 45 runs from 38 deliveries in the 13th over. Once the skipper was sent packing, we witnessed the Grant Elliott show in Sharjah! He began his spell effectively and became really hard for the batsmen with his variations. Karachi’s impressive middle order batsmen failed to get any grip on proceedings and tumbled in quick succession. Shakib Al Hasan was caught by Aitzaz Cheema off Elliott in the 16th over, as his troubled run with the bat continues. He came back in his next over by dismissing Sohail Tanvir with Nawaz taking a neat catch at deep backward square leg. Two deliveries later, Karachi’s danger man and the league’s top scorer Ravi Bopara became Elliott’s next victim as he caught him off his own bowling. With that crucial wicket gone, Karachi could never really recover and failed to finish their innings strongly as the Gladiators’ bowling attack ran through their tail quickly with Karachi only managing 126/9 in their 20 overs. Grant Elliott ended with spectacular figures of 4-0-15-4, as Quetta capped off another great display in the field. Ahmad Shehzad wasted little time and started taking on the Kings’ bowling attack from the beginning. Luke Wright was supporting him steadily before he was dismissed through some clever bowling by Imad Wasim, who drifted one wide when saw him coming down the track, forcing Wright to miscue it for an easy catch on the off side. Ahmad Shehzad continued to hit big shots as Quetta continued to pile up run on the board. They were always in control of the match as Kevin Pietersen stepped on to the middle. Shehzad was bowled out by a peach of a delivery by Usama Mir in the 9th over, but the damage had already been done as he went after scoring 41 runs from 27 deliveries to put Quetta firmly in control of the match. Pietersen kept the runs coming and built a steady partnership with Sarfraz, before he too was dismissed after scoring 26 from 22 balls, with Quetta at 95/3 after thirteen overs. Sarfraz led from the front and ensured Gladiators got to their target swiftly through some good running between the wickets. He remained not out on 29 from 33 runs, as Quetta sealed another comfortable victory against Karachi, this time winning by seven wickets. Grant Elliott was the man of the match for his match changing spell. With this victory, Quetta Gladiators have ensured their place in the play offs and if they continue playing this way, it would be hard for any side to stop them. It’s back to the drawing board for Karachi Kings, who will surely be pumped to come back strongly in their next match. Full Scorecard

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Tamim scores another half century as Peshawar seal a comfortable victory against Islamabad Peshawar Zalmi won the toss and elected to field for the first time in the tournament, while Misbah Ul Haq was back from injury to lead Islamabad United. The Sharjah stadium was packed to the rafters and the atmosphere was absolutely electric as the dynamic Shane Watson and Sharjeel Khan came to open the innings. Shaun Tait bowled a great first over, conceding only one run. Watson took charge and targeted Junaid Khan in the very next over, dispatching him for two beautiful boundaries. Islamabad were kept relatively quiet by Zalmi’s attack before Sharjeel decided to play a few shots of his own. Mohammad Asghar, who has been a great find for Zalmi, was introduced in to the attack and started working his magic from the very first over. He kept the batsmen guessing and bowled a superb delivery to bowl out Watson who was left clueless. Khalid Latif came on to bat next and played confidently as he kept the scoreboard ticking, scoring boundaries at regular intervals. Sharjeel dispatched Afridi for two sixes in the eighth over, before being dismissed in the tenth by Tait as he departed after making 28 runs from 22 balls. Islamabad were 72/2 after the first ten overs. Islamabad’s captain Misbah Ul Haq came on to bat next and after taking his time to settle in, he launched off! He began hitting the ball with ease and gave Afridi a beating in the 14th over, smashing away two huge sixes along with an intricate boundary towards the off side. Khalid Latif went about his business on the other end and joined in the party by dispatching Wahab for a mighty six as United looked to finish off strongly against an impressive bowling attack. Misbah was dismissed by Wahab in the 17th over, with Afridi taking an easy catch at cover. Andre Russell came on with only three overs remaining but was sent back by Asghar on only his second delivery as he found Darren Sammy on long off for a comfortable catch. Latif continued to play responsibly and made sure Islamabad got to a fighting total before being dismissed in the 19th over after scoring an important 59 from 41 deliveries. Islamabad United could manage 152/6 in their allotted 20 overs, an effort Peshawar Zalmi must have been content with. The in-form Mohammad Hafeez and Tamim Iqbal opened the innings for Peshawar Zalmi and wasted little time in setting the tone for the chase. The ‘Professor’ continued to build on his good form as he stroked the ball exquisitely, hitting Russell for three boundaries in the third over. Russell went off the field due to injury as United were reduced to four bowlers. Just as Hafeez (25 from 14 balls) was beginning to look dangerous, he lofted one up in the air into Misbah’s safe hands off Mohammad Sami’s bowling. With that wicket gone, Jim Allenby came on to the middle as Tamim began to take charge. He dispatched Ajmal for two big blows for six as he continued to keep the runs flowing. Samuel Badree, who was bowling beautifully, picked up Allenby cheaply as Sami showed great athleticism to take a brilliant catch in the deep. Kamran Akmal was next for Islamabad, with Tamim stroking the ball nicely on the other end with some confident batting. Peshawar were 82/2 after the first eleven overs. Ajmal was hammered for runs but struck back by stumping Akmal in the 12th over courtesy some quick keeping by Haddin. Shahid Yusuf came on to the middle and supported Tamim well, who completed another half century in the HBL PSL and continued to go about his business gracefully as Islamabad looked comfortable to seal the victory at 121/3 after fifteen overs. There was no stopping Tamim Iqbal in the end, as he smashed Rumman Raees for a flurry of boundaries in the 17th over which more or less sealed the game for Zalmi. Peshawar Zalmi sealed the victory in the second last over, winning comfortably by 7 wickets in the end as Tamim remained not out at 80 from 58 deliveries. Peshawar Zalmi are soaring in the HBL PSL, while Islamabad United need to turn things around soon. Full Scorecard

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Bopara seals victory for Karachi single handedly with the performance of the tournament! It was time for the big city derby in what was an important match with both teams sitting at the bottom of the table. The stadium was buzzing with excitement as the crowd poured in huge numbers. Dwayne Bravo was the stand in captain for Qalandars as Azhar Ali was rested, while the Kings were without the injured Mohammad Amir. Qalandars won the toss and elected to bowl first, with Nauman Anwar and Shoaib Malik opening the innings for Kings in what was a surprising move. There was drama in the very first over, with Kevin Cooper dropping an easy catch in the deep which would have sent Nauman back to the pavilion. His luck continued as he was dropped once again by Bravo a few overs later and made them pay with some big shots. Malik also got into his stride as Qalandars kept dropping opportunities at regular intervals. Nauman raced to 35 off 25 deliveries before Zohaib Khan dismissed him as he lofted one in the air and was caught at long on by Umar Akmal, who made no mistake that time. James Vince was next, but he fell cheaply as he played one off Zohaib straight to Bravo. Qalandars were finally beginning to hold on to their catches while Malik kept himself busy on the crease at kept scoring at a steady rate. With ten overs gone Karachi managed 73/2, and set themselves nicely for a decent total. The dangerous Ravi Bopara joined his captain in the middle on the back of an incredible performance against Peshawar Zalmi. Lahore finally stepped up their game and tightened the screws a little, making it difficult for the batsmen to score freely. Malik was dismissed in the 13th over by Zafar Gohar after scoring 27 from 25 balls. Shakib Al Hasan and Imad Wasim could not stay on the crease for long, as Bopara took the responsibility of ensuring Karachi finished the innings strongly. He took his time to settle in but as soon as that happened, there was no stopping him. Once again, he played a brilliant innings and increased the run rate as he kept hitting boundaries one after the other. Cameron Delport and Chris Gayle added dropped a few more catches as Qalandars were made to suffer due to their lackluster effort in the field. Bopara smashed Bravo for 20 runs in the 19th over, and remained not out for a monumental 71 from 43 deliveries, becoming the highest scorer of the tournament in the process. Karachi finished their innings strongly and got to 178/5 in their 20 overs. Lahore Qalandars needed almost 9 runs an over as Chris Gayle made his much awaited return to the league in front of a full house at Sharjah after sitting out in the last two games. He was joined by Cameron Delport and both batsmen got off to a decent start, taking no risks in the beginning and concentrated mainly on rotating the strike. Gayle hit Malik for a six straight down the ground in the fifth over as Qalandars began to pick up the pace. Delport also looked good with some beautiful stroke play on the other end. Sohail Tanvir was whacked away for three boundaries in the eigth over as the openers began to dominate proceedings. Both openers began to free their arms once they were set and began hitting the ball cleanly, with Lahore racing to 90/0 in their first ten overs. Delport was particularly impressive with his feet movement against the spinners. He was dismissed after a stellar 55 from 39 balls by Usama Mir as he charged down the ground and was stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim. Karachi Kings took a strategic timeout soon after Delport’s dismissal. The timeout worked wonders for Karachi as Bopara, who has not put a foot wrong in the tournament turned the game around instantly, this time with the ball. He took out the dangerous Chris Gayle on his very first delivery as he mistimed his shot and sent it into the air for an easy catch. Bopara dismissed Qalandars’ stand in captain Bravo two deliveries later, and suddenly the Kings’ fans began to make some noise. Lahore looked to rebuild through Umar Akmal and Muhammad Rizwan and focused on taking the heat out of the situation with some steady batting. Their partnership was short lived as Bopara bowled an exceptional 16th over. His first victim was Rizwan who was bowled out, next up was Hammad Azam who was unlucky to be given out leg before, and one delivery later Naved Yasin perished in the same over as he was caught at short cover as Bopara was on fire! He took three wickets in four balls, picking up the first five wicket haul of the tournament. He dismissed Umar Akmal next, and also became the highest wicket taker of the league as he ended up with sensational bowling figures of 4-0-16-6. The match was over after his spell, as Karachi sealed a comfortable victory by 27 runs in the end. Bopara’s all round performance in this match was mind blowing as his dream run in the HBL PSL continues. Full Scorecard

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Quetta dominate Islamabad once again as they move to the top of the table Islamabad United were back in action after a dominant performance against Lahore Qalandars from the day before. Gladiators won the toss and chose to field, as Sharjeel Khan and Shane Watson came to open the innings for United, fresh from a record breaking partnership in the HBL PSL. Their partnership would end earlier this time around though, as Zulfiqar Babar took Sharjeel with a juicy full toss which went unpunished and landed safely in Akbar Ur Rehman’s hands in the fourth over. Watson got off to a flying start and it seemed he never left the pitch from the night before! He took on Muhammad Nawaz and smashed him for consecutive sixes, and in no time had taken Islamabad United to 39/1 after five overs. Brad Haddin whacked a glorious six from the first ball he faced in the tournament and United were off to a promising start. However, things took a dramatic turn for Islamabad once Watson was dismissed off Aizaz Cheema in the seventh over after scoring 40 from 28 balls. Gladiators halted proceedings through some brilliant bowling. Grant Elliot made his debut for the Gladiators in the HBL PSL and wasted little time in making his mark. He bowled a clever slower ball and deceived Haddin, who was stumped by Sarfraz behind the stumps. He got Billings on his very next delivery, as Islamabad’s batsmen began to lose control of the innings. After the end of their first ten overs, United were 66/4. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals as Gladiators started bossing the match. Khalid Latif was next to fall off Mohammad Nabi as he was caught leg before. Hawkeye revealed that the ball would have missed the stumps. Nawaz picked up Imran Khalid next, just as he was beginning to score some runs. Andre Russell was also sent packing cheaply as Islamabad failed to get a single partnership going and their tail collapsed dramatically. Elliot ended up with 3 wickets as Islamabad were bowled all out for 117 runs in 19.1 overs. Gladiators must have felt pretty confident going in to the break. Luke Wright and Ahmad Shehzad opened the innings for the Gladiators. They needed to keep wickets intact but Andre Russell had different ideas and bowled a phenomenal third over of the innings. Wright was caught by Sam Billings on the off side, before Russell bowled a superb yorker on the very next delivery to bowl out Kevin Pietersen for a golden duck! It seemed as if we had a match on our hands but Shehzad kept scoring runs steadily on the other end with some beautiful strokes. Quetta’s skipper Sarfraz Ahmed kept rotating the strike and started to build a partnership with Shehzad. Both batsmen put on an important partnership, adding 59 runs from 43 balls for the 3rd wicket before Shehzad became Russell’s third victim as he was caught in the deep by Sharjeel. Shehzad scored a confident Quetta Gladiators were firmly in control of the match when Nawaz came out to bat. Sarfraz kept the scoreboard ticking knowing that his team did not need to do anything fancy. Ajmal tried to contain runs but wickets were hard to come by for United. The Gladiators cruised to their target in the 17th over, as Sarfraz led from the front and remained unbeaten at 51 from 39 deliveries, capping off another comprehensive victory by seven wickets. Grant Elliott was awarded the man of the match for his wonderful bowling performance. With this win, the Gladiators move to the top of the table once again as they continue to dominate in the HBL PSL. Full Scorecard

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Bopara almost took Karachi home as Peshawar seal victory by 3 runs in an epic encounter On a flat Sharjah track, it was no surprise that Zalmi chose to bat first after winning the toss. Karachi’s squad remained unchanged from the previous match, while Peshawar brought in the young Amir Yamin for Junaid Khan. The ever consistent Tamim Iqbal and Muhammad Hafeez opened the innings for Zalmi as Mohammad Amir rushed in to bowl the first over. Hafeez took the initiative from the start and got off the mark with a terrific boundary. Imad Wasim was next as Hafeez continued to play beautifully, striking three boundaries from that over. Within no time, Peshawar Zalmi were off to great start, with Hafeez looking in sublime form. Tamim kept playing the supporting role on the other end, as his partner targeted every single bowler for runs. The professor went after everyone as Amir was pulled away for an exquisite four, Shakib was smashed for a six down the ground as Karachi Kings seemed to run out of ideas to stop Hafeez. Tamim kept rotating the strike and let Hafeez take charge, which ensured Zalmi set the perfect platform for a big total. Hafeez raced to his half century from only 29 balls in the ninth over with Peshawar in firm control of the match at 78/0. Karachi Kings needed to pick up a wicket soon as Zalmi’s openers were dominating proceedings. Tamim also got in to his stride as the innings progressed and started to use his feet well against the spin bowlers. Kings’ finally got their much awaited first wicket through Ravi Bopara as Hafeez was dismissed leg before in the 11th over. Hafeez was really unfortunate with that decision as the ball was clearly drifting down the leg stump. The opening pair put 93 on the board from just 63 balls. Bopara struck again and Tamim was sent packing in the 13th after a steady 37 from 35 deliveries. Kamran Akmal continued to keep the runs flowing for Peshawar, with a banging six down the ground as the ball disappeared out of the ground. With fifteen overs gone, Peshawar Zalmi were 126/2 with Kamran Akmal and Dawid Malan in the middle. Akmal departed after a quick 30 from 20 balls off Amir’s bowling and out came Zalmi’s captain, Shahid Afridi. With little time spent on the crease, Afridi skied a full toss off Sohail Tanvir which was caught by Bopara, but unexplainably was given as a no ball by the third umpire for being above waist height even though Afridi was charging down the track. Malan was dismissed after a troublesome time in the middle and was followed by Darren Sammy with less than three overs to go. Afridi and Sammy finished off the innings strongly as they hit Tanvir for 17 runs in the last over, and Peshawar Zalmi managed an impressive 182/4 in their 20 overs. Lendl Simmons and Nauman Anwar opened the innings for Karachi Kings. Amir Yamin bowled an impressive first over and only conceded two runs. Nauman scored Karachi’s first boundary off Shaun Tait in the second over through a fine shot towards mid wicket. Wahab dismissed Simmons on his very first ball, beating him with sheer pace with a fiery delivery that hit the stumps. Nauman was run out in the next over courtesy some great fielding and a direct hit by Shahid Yusuf at point. Karachi’s misery continued as Imad Wasim was run out two deliveries later in the most comical fashion imaginable. He was strolling towards the crease and failed to ground his bat as Mohammad Asghar clipped off the bails in what should have been an easy run. Karachi’s captain Shoaib Malik was next and he hit a convincing six off Shahid Afridi straight away as he tried to resurrect the chase and lead from the front. His stay was short lived as he perished off Asghar’s bowling in the eight over while trying to dispatch another six. Shakib Al Hasan was next to throw away his wicket to Afridi as Karachi’s middle order collapsed. After ten overs, Karachi Kings were 61/5 with the match way beyond their reach barring a miracle. James Vince and Ravi Bopara began striking the ball to inject hope in the Karachi camp and picked up the run rate. Vince was particularly impressive, as he began to hit all bowlers with ease and started hitting boundaries at will. Peshawar Zalmi were forced to take a strategic time out as Bopara and Vince gained momentum. That decision worked wonders as Shaun Tait bowled out the dangerous James Vince after he made a quick fire 44 from 28 balls. Karachi needed 72 runs from the last five overs, with Bopara still in the middle. Yamin and Riaz were all put away for runs by Bopara, before he absolutely hammered Shaun Tait in the 18th over and scored 26 runs in an over which put Peshawar in all sorts of trouble. Sohail Tanvir also kept the scoreboard ticking, while Bopara raced to a spectacular 50 from 28 balls in the process. With two overs left and 22 needed, we had a match on our hands. Sohail Tanvir hit an important six off Riaz in the second last over, before being bowled out on the very next ball. Karachi needed 13 runs from the last over as Darren Sammy was given the ball for the first time in the innings. Bopara dispatched the first ball for six, followed it up with a well taken double before being caught at deep midwicket while trying to finish things off. Bopara departed after an astounding and 67 from 33 deliveries. Karachi needed 4 runs from the last 2 balls. Usama Mir was run out by Kamran Akmal while trying to take a quick single. Amir was on strike as Karachi needed a boundary off the last ball to seal the win, it was all happening in Sharjah! Darren Sammy ensured that did not […]

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Sharjeel and Watson leave Qalandars clueless as United dominate With both teams finally getting off the mark in their previous match ups, the stage was set for a close encounter between two evenly matched sides. Islamabad United were led by Shane Watson in Misbah Ul Haq’s absence, who was rested due to a calf injury, while Lahore Qalandars were without their front line batsman Chris Gayle once again. Islamabad won the toss and elected to field first as Azhar Ali and Cameron Delport came out to open the innings for Lahore. Azhar began stroking the ball early into his innings and smashed Watson for 14 runs in only the second over. Lahore were off to a decent start until Mohammad Sami came in to bowl in the third over. He beat Delport with sheer pace on his very first delivery as he bowled a ripper which struck the middle stump. Naved Yasin came out to the middle next, as Azhar kept the runs flowing. After being put away for two boundaries, Sami struck again to dismiss Azhar Ali in the sixth over, who departed after making 27 runs from 18 deliveries. Fresh from an astounding innings from the last game, Umar Akmal made his way on to the pitch as Lahore were 46/2 after six overs. Umar Akmal announced himself with some convincing shots, including a gigantic six off Saeed Ajmal which landed on the roof! Ajmal bounced back by dismissing Naved in the same over as Brad Haddin caught a beauty behind the stumps. Just as Qalandars were beginning to score runs quickly, United grabbed the crucial wicket of Akmal as he was caught leg before by the young left arm spinner, Imran Khalid. Islamabad were jubilant after that wicket but Lahore Qalandars gained some momentum through Muhammad Rizwan and Dwayne Bravo who were determined to ensure their side got to a big total once again. Both these batsmen kicked up their gears and went after the bowlers with five overs remaining. Rumman Raees was smashed away for 17 runs in the 17th over as Rizwan looked unstoppable. Bravo kept scoring runs until he got run out through some brilliant fielding by Imran Khalid, departing for 26 from 17. Rizwan played aggressively in the end with some fantastic batting, as he made an impressive 50 from 27 balls, propelling Lahore to a decent 166/6 in their allotted overs. Shane Watson and Sharjeel Khan came out all guns blazing for Islamabad United from the very first over, with Bravo being put away for 14 runs. Sharjeel was in sublime form and made it look all too easy as he hit sixes for fun! Ehsan Adil was taken to the cleaners by Sharjeel, who smashed him for 20 runs in the fourth over through some powerful hitting which left Lahore clueless. Watson was dropped early on by Cameron Delport, a mistake they were made to pay for as he began to free his arms and joined in on the fun. Watson hit the biggest six of the tournament (and there were plenty of big sixes in this match!) against Zafar Gohar, as the two batsmen tore the Qalandars apart. Both these batsmen started bossing the match as the Qalandars bowling were left absolutely clueless. It was raining sixes in Sharjah with both the openers in the form of their life. They quickly raced to their half centuries in quick succession as United looked extremely comfortable at 119/0 after 11 overs. Watson was dropped once again in the 12th over, something which the Qalandars could not afford at all as the match was already beyond their reach by then. He made sure they were punished by smashing two consecutive sixes off Kevon Cooper right after, and it was only a matter of time before Islamabad wrapped it up. Shane Watson finally departed after a super catch behind the stumps from Muhammad Rizwan off Ehsan Adil, after an outstanding knock of 79 from 47 balls. The opening stand put together 153 runs on the board in what was a brutal partnership. Andre Russell was also sent back to the pavilion but it did not matter at all as Islamabad had pretty much sealed their victory by then. Sharjeel Khan finished the match with back to back sixes as he remained not out after scoring 79 from only 43 deliveries. United won the match by eight wickets, with 4 overs to spare, as Qalandars suffered another soul crushing defeat in the HBLPSL. Islamabad United are flying high after a disappointing start in the league, and have started to play some great cricket. Lahore Qalandars continue to struggle as they remain on the bottom of the points table. Full Scorecard

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Umar Akmal plays a breath taking innings as Gladiators taste defeat for the first time The struggling Lahore Qalandars team, yet to register their first win, took on the unbeaten Quetta Gladiators who had brushed aside every other team in the league through some great performances. Mohammad Nawaz has been a revelation with the ball, while Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen and Ahmad Shehzad have all contributed with the bat. The Gladiators had also been really fortunate with the toss in the entire tournament so far. Their luck continued as they won the toss and chose to field once again. Chris Gayle was rested by Lahore and Cameron Delport came on to open the innings instead, along with skipper Azhar Ali. Qalandars had never made it through the first over without losing a wicket in their previous matches, but Azhar Ali had different ideas this time around as he came down the ground and dispatched Anwar Ali for a six in the first over. Delport started hitting boundaries soon after and both batsmen looked to be in great form. The way Delport targeted Nawaz, the highest wicket taker of the tournament so far, was especially impressive, as he played some innovative strokes and was never afraid to come down the track to ensure his dominance. Azhar Ali departed in the 10th over off Umar Gul as the opening pair put 62 runs on the board. Umar Akmal came out next, as the platform was set for Qalandars to finally get a big score. Delport continued to get under the bowlers’ skin with some fine hitting as he raced to his half century in only 42 deliveries, while Akmal also joined in on the party and took Umar Gul to the cleaners as he dealt only in boundaries. Qalandars kept accelerating their run rate as the innings progressed, and there was no stopping Umar Akmal as he raced to his 50 in only 22 balls. Both these batsmen were absolutely bossing the Gladiators as Qalandars were easily set for the highest total of the tournament so far. The pair broke the record for the highest partnership of the HBL PSL as they added 95 runs from only 43 balls, before Delport was caught leg before off Zulfiqar Babar in the 17th over. Umar Akmal went ballistic however, as he played the innings of the tournament which included ferocious shots all over the park. We had never seen him bat like this before, as he blasted a breath taking 93 from 40 balls! Qalandars had set a mammoth total of 195/3 in their 20 overs, which was never going to be easy for any side to chase down. Luke Wright and Ahmad Shehzad opened the innings for Quetta Gladiators. Needing nearly 10 runs per over, it was always going to be a daunting task. Luke Wright got lucky early on in the innings, as Zafar Gohar almost held a catch off his own bowling but fumbled it as he looked to celebrate a little too early! Shehzad hit Kevon Cooper for consecutive boundaries in the 3rd over, before dragging the ball onto his stumps on the very next delivery. Wright was dismissed three balls later off Gohar, as he was caught at deep mid wicket by Cooper. At 27/2 after 4 overs, Gladiators were already in dire straits. Pietersen hit a few big shots and there was still some hope for the Gladiators as long as he was out there, but his stay on the crease was short lived as he was also sent packing by Dwayne Bravo. The match seemed to be a foregone conclusion only 6 overs into Quetta’s innings, with three of their best batsmen already in the pavilion, while chasing a monumental total. Quetta’s skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, along with Mohammad Nawaz on the crease, tried to get a partnership going and played a few shots as the required rate climbed to 12 runs per over. Nawaz targeted Hammad Azam and put him away for 20 runs in the 10th over as the Gladiators began to pick up some momentum. With nine overs remaining Quetta needed 98 runs with seven wickets in hand. Sarfraz and Nawaz turned the crowd on its head with some beautiful stroke play and we suddenly had a match on our hands. Zohaib Khan put the Qalandars back in control as he claimed the much coveted wicket of Sarfraz in the 13th over. Mendis got rid of Nawaz soon after and Qalandars had their first victory in the bag. It was smooth sailing from then on for Lahore, as Quetta’s tail end collapsed and they were all out for 131, with Zafar Gohar picking up 4 wickets for 14. Qalandars sealed a comprehensive win against the best team of the tournament so far, with Umar Akmal playing an unforgettable innings which will be remembered for a long time. Full Scorecard

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Quetta remain unbeaten after a nail biting victory against Peshawar The much-anticipated top of the table clash between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi was always going to be exciting as both teams remained unbeaten in the tournament so far. Quetta Gladiators won the toss and it was no surprise that they chose to field first once again. That decision paid dividends straight away as Zalmi’s dangerous openers, the ever consistent Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Hafeez failed to have much impact courtesy some tight bowling by Anwar Ali and Mohammad Nabi. Quetta’s bowling attack has been impressive throughout the tournament and this match was no different. Gladiators’ golden boy, Mohammad Nawaz came on to bowl in the 5th over and dismantled both batsmen with some clever bowling. First to perish was Tamim, who came down the track and lofted it to find Mohammad Nabi at deep midwicket. Two deliveries later, Hafeez miscued one towards Elton Chigumbura at square leg, as Nawaz’s dream start to the tournament continued. Zulfiqar Babar picked up Kamran Akmal next in the 9th over and Zalmi were being bossed by Gladiators’ superb spin bowling. Dawid Malan was taking his time to find his rhythm as Shahid Yousaf joined him in the middle. Malan freed his arms and hit Gul for a six, before edging the next delivery to Sarfraz Ahmed. The crowd’s darling Shahid Afridi came out to the middle but was sent packing for naught after facing just two deliveries, bringing an end to a typical Afridi-esque innings. Things were looking pretty bleak for Zalmi but they were about to change as Darren Sammy came out to bat. Sammy tore apart Quetta’s bowlers one by one as he whacked them all over the park in a fine display of power hitting! He kept hitting sixes at will and resurrected Peshawar’s innings single handedly as he made 48 from 31 balls, helping Zalmi reach a respectable 135/7 from their allotted overs. Ahmad Shehzad and Luke Wright opened the innings for the Gladiators, on the back of a record opening partnership in the HBL PSL in their previous match. They began to play their shots early on, with Ahmad Shehzad coming down the ground and using his feet well against Mohammad Asghar to hit him for six over long off. Luke Wright hit consecutive boundaries off Shaun Tait soon after and it seemed as if this would be another long partnership. Tait had other plans, as he forced an edge from Shehzad for an easy catch behind the stumps towards Akmal. Afridi bowled out Wright in the very next over, as he started his spell with a maiden and a wicket. Peshawar were off to a good start until Quetta’s skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed came out to bat. Along with Kevin Pietersen, Sarfraz worked the ball around steadily as the two tried to build a partnership. There was some confusion between the pair as they had some close calls with a few run out situations but had luck on their side. Sarfraz became Afridi’s second victim as he went low to slog one for a big shot but found Dawid Malan at mid wicket instead. Mohammad Nawaz came on to face a fiery Wahab Riaz and dispatched him for a boundary, before beinga dismissed on the very next ball. With wickets falling at regular intervals, it was all up to the experienced Kevin Pietersen to take the Gladiators home. He kept the scoreboard ticking steadily as he lost another partner, the young Akbar Ur Rehman. With five overs remaining, Quetta needed 35 runs, which was certainly within their reach as long as Pietersen remained in the middle. He kept his cool and began to find the gaps with ease as Wahab claimed another wicket, this time of Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi in the 17th over. The big moment of the match came when Afridi took a great catch off Junaid’s bowling to claim the prized wicket of Kevin Pietersen, setting up a nail biting finish for the fans. With Elton Chigumbura and Anwar Ali on strike, Gladiators required 17 runs from the last two overs with three wickets in hand. Anwar hit Tait for a spectacular six in the second last over, and Chigumbura held his nerve to finish the job as he hit a crucial boundary off Wahab in the last over. Quetta sealed a much deserved victory by 3 wickets with only two balls to spare. They remain unbeaten in the league and are firmly on top of the table. Full Scorecard

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United seal their first victory by 2 runs in a thrilling encounter against Kings This was an important game for a struggling Islamabad United team as they searched for their first points, while Karachi Kings were looking to regroup after a crushing defeat from Quetta Gladiators by 8 wickets from the day before. The stage was set for a thrilling encounter between these two teams who were billed as favourites by many before the tournament began. Shoaib Malik won the toss and elected to field first, something which all teams seem to be doing other than Peshawar Zalmi. United’s opening pair had failed to make an impact so far in the HBL PSL and things were looked bright for them as Watson smashed Amir for a well timed six towards deep mid wicket early on and Sharjeel Khan seemed to be in good touch. Just as we began to feel it was Watson’s day, he was dismissed leg before by Imad Wasim in the fifth over. Out stepped Khalid Latif for the first time in the tournament and looked to take on Karachi’s bowling straight away. He hit Shakib for a glorious six and then showed similar treatment to Imad Wasim, and suddenly United were off to their best start so far with 71/1 after ten overs. Kings clawed their way back in with an amazing bowling display, as Sharjeel was dismissed by Amir after scoring 28 from 27. Khalid (39 from 35) was bowled by Ravi Bopara next and Misbah’s men were in trouble once again. Wickets began to fall quickly as Ashar Zaidi got himself run out, and the young leg spinner Usama Mir bowled beautifully to get rid of Andre Russell soon after. In a span of 10 balls, United lost 4 wickets as their middle order collapsed like a deck of cards. After a decent start, United’s batting disappointed and failed to capitalize as Karachi’s bowling proved too hot to handle. Misbah threw away his wicket to Bopara, and Islamabad’s running between the wickets did not help much either as three of their batsmen got run out. Mohammad Sami provided a late surge for United towards the end of their innings, with a quick cameo of 20 runs from 9 deliveries, helping them reach 132/8. United could only manage to score 61 runs and lost seven wickets in their last ten overs. Karachi Kings must have felt pretty confident going into the break. Islamabad United needed to pick up early wickets and that’s exactly what they did! Lendl Simmons was run out in the second over through some brilliant work by Ashar Zaidi in the outfield. Saeed Ajmal got James Vince on his very first delivery and Karachi were 3/2 in no time! Imad Wasim took the initiative and hit three consecutive boundaries against Ajmal and the Kings looked to pick up some momentum. Imad raced off to 29 runs before he edged one to Sam Billings off Andre Russell’s bowling. Sami bowled out Malik next as he dragged it onto the stumps and United were back in business. Shakib Al Hasan tried to get some runs flowing but he could only manage 20 from 22 as he was sent back to the pavilion along with Saifullah Bangash in the same over by Saeed Ajmal. With 15 overs gone, Karachi Kings were 87/7, needing 46 runs from 30 balls with three wickets in hand. Ravi Bopara took it upon himself to take Karachi over the line and kept scoring quick runs. Sohail Tanveer was run out in the 17th over and it was all down to Bopara to finish the job. He batted brilliantly and smashed 18 runs off Mohammad Sami in the 18th over and added another 13 in the very next over with Usama Mir. Karachi needed 16 runs in the last over as Shane Watson took it upon himself to ensure United got their first victory of the tournament. Mir perished on the first ball as he tried to take a quick single and there was extreme tension in both camps. Amir smacked a boundary on the first ball he faced from Watson, followed that with two dots, before handing over the strike to Bopara. He was presented with a gift from Watson which he duly dispatched for six, and Karachi needed 4 runs from the last ball! Shane Watson bowled a neat yorker to ensure United scraped through by 2 runs. This was by far the match of the tournament and Dean Jones would be relieved to finally make his mark on the HBLPSL. Full Scorecard

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Qalandars suffer a soul crushing defeat as Zalmi dominate Once again, Peshawar Zalmi won the toss and chose to field first against a Lahore Qalandars side who kicked off their campaign in disappointing fashion after defeat in their opening match against Karachi Kings in the HBL PSL. Things did not change much for them at all as they suffered from the wrath of Zalmi’s fiery bowling attack right from the word go and got off to a horrible start! Junaid Khan bowled out Chris Gayle on the very first ball of the innings with a spectacular swinging delivery. Two balls later, Cameron Delport threw away his wicket with some careless running, failing to put his bat down on the crease even though he was miles in, and Qalandars were in all sorts of trouble. It got from bad to worse in the very next over as Mohammad Rizwan edged one from Shaun Tait to the keeper, and suddenly Lahore had lost 3 wickets for only 4 runs. Peshawar Zalmi off to a dream start! It was always going to be an uphill task from then on for Lahore and Umar Akmal tried resurrecting the innings along with his captain, Azhar Ali. Zalmi’s bowling continued to impress, as Muhammad Asghar kept the batsmen guessing and put on a fine display. He dismissed Umar Akmal, who forced an edge towards his brother Karman keeping stumps. Azhar Ali tried leading from the front but runs were really hard to come by for him and his partner Dwayne Bravo. He too fell to victim to Asghar after a tough 31 from 41 deliveries and Qalandars stood at a miserable 66/5 after 15 overs. Bravo picked up the run rate later on and started to free his arms. He smashed Wahab Riaz all over the ground in the 18th over by smashing two fours and a six, before being caught behind to the keeper in the same over. Hammad Azam chipped in with 18 runs from 11 balls as Lahore Qalandars could only manage 117/6 in their 20 overs. Peshawar Zalmi wasted little time and got off to a flying start as Tamim smashed Zia Ul Haq for three boundaries in only the second over. Hafeez also joined in with a six straight down the ground off Adnan Rasool and set the tone for the chase early on. Lahore Qalandars’ misery continued as Rasool dropped an easy catch which would have sent the Professor packing, but he was given a second chance and made sure he capitalized. The opening stand kept working the ball around and put on a solid partnership. Hafeez made sure Qalandars regretted that dropped opportunity and began middling the ball exquisitely, including two beautiful sixes off Rasool in the 11th over. Ajantha Mendis finally got the much awaited first wicket for Lahore as Hafeez, who had made 43, was deceived by a wider delivery and got stumped by Kamran Akmal. By then, the opening pair had already put on 95 runs in 11 overs and Peshawar Zalmi were all set for a comfortable victory. Dawid Malan came out to the middle to finish things off with Tamim Iqbal, who has been really consistent so far in this competition. He became the first batsman in the tournament to score consecutive half centuries and looks in sublime form. Zalmi finished off the match with four overs to spare, capping off a comprehensive victory by nine wickets. Tamim Iqbal remained not out on 55 from 47 balls. Lahore Qalandars could never really recover from that horrid start and could not do much with the ball either. Peshawar joins Quetta on top, while Lahore and Islamabad desperately need to turn things around. Full Scorecard

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Shehzad finds form as Quetta cruise to victory against Karachi After comfortable victories for both teams in the first match, Quetta Gladiators and Karachi Kings faced off to determine who goes on to the top of the table. Gladiators won the toss and elected to bowl first, which is becoming somewhat of a trend in this tournament now, and they managed to cause the Kings all sorts of problems early on. Anwar Ali got rid of Nauman Anwar in the first over, who only had himself to blame for some poor decision making as he tried to whack one out of the park on his first ball and failed miserably. Zulfiqar Babar followed and bowled a maiden, and Karachi Kings were put under pressure straight away. Lendl Simmons was looking to build on the form from his previous innings, but was sent back to the pavilion by the MOTM from Gladiator’s first match, Mohammad Nawaz, who continues to impress so far in this league. There was some fine spin bowling on display as Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi joined in on the fun and bowled a decisive spell for Quetta. He got two crucial wickets of James Vince just as he was beginning to look good, and then bowled out the dangerous Shakib Al Hasan with a peach of a delivery. It was all going well for the bowling side until Karachi’s skipper Shoaib Malik, partnered by Ravi Bopara began to take charge and finish the innings off strongly. Boundaries started to come by for these two towards the end of the innings and Karachi were all set to post a fighting total. Bopara and Malik added 69 from 46 balls for the fifth wicket partnership, before Ravi Bopara was dismissed in the last over. Karachi Kings scored runs 52 from the last five overs, which helped them get 147 for the loss of 7 wickets, which definitely was a fighting total. Luke Wright came on to open the innings on the back of a great performance in the first match, along with Ahmad Shehzad, and got lucky to get away with a leg before decision off Imad Wasim’s bowling on the second ball of the innings. There was no stopping the two batsmen from then on, as they both got in their stride and made it look all too easy. All the bowlers from Karachi Kings went for runs as Gladiators piled up an impressive 82 runs in the first ten overs without losing a single wicket. Ahmad Shehzad finally found his form, which was long overdue, and began dealing only in boundaries. Suddenly, it seemed that early bit of luck was going to haunt Karachi Kings. Luke Wright was finally dismissed for 47 from 39 deliveries in the 11th over by Imad Wasim, as he tried to hit him for consecutive sixes but was caught straight down the ground by Nauman Anwar. Ahmad Shehzad continued to boss the spinners and reached his half century in the 13th over with a thunderous six, and with Kevin Pietersen on the other end, Quetta were well on their way to another victory. The pair kept the scoreboard ticking until Shehzad was finally dismissed for a sublime 71 from 46 balls, but by then the job was almost complete. Kevin Pietersen finished proceedings with a six as the Gladiators capped off a convincing victory by 8 wickets in 17.2 overs. Quetta have been the most impressive team so far in this tournament and overcoming them would be a daunting task for any side if they keep playing this way. Karachi Kings play Islamabad tomorrow, should make for a thrilling encounter. Full Scorecard

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Zalmi’s bowling attack too hot to handle for United The crowd poured in huge numbers to watch Peshawar Zalmi in action for the very first time in the tournament. Unlike the rest, Afridi won the toss and elected to bat first. Things got off to a decent start as the in form Muhammad Hafeez looked in decent touch after scoring a wonderful on drive for four off Shane Watson, but in the very same over, Sam Billings took an absolute blinder behind the stumps to get rid of the danger man. Tamim looked to stabilize the innings early on, but wickets kept falling on the other end as Dawid Malan and Kamran Akmal also perished with in the first eight overs. The magician, Saeed Ajmal looked extremely impressive and bowled a brilliant spell, ending with figures of 4-0-19-1. He was supported well by Ruman Raees which helped restrict Zalmi to 58/3 in the first ten overs. Things did not change much as United kept Zalmi under immense pressure with some tight bowling. With a little over five overs remaining, Shahid Afridi stepped on to the crease and opened his account with a boundary. Tamim also picked up his run rate as Zalmi looked to finish off strongly and smashed consecutive boundaries off Shane Watson in the 17th over. After a few shots, Afridi skied one and was caught and bowled by Andre Russell in the 19th over, after scoring 16 runs. Tamim followed soon after on the very next delivery after a well made 51 from 51 balls. Peshawar Zalmi finished their innings with 145/ 7 on the board, the most by any team batting first so far in this competition. Shaun Tait opened the bowling for Zalmi and it was an action packed first over. He was pulled away for consecutive boundaries by Sharjeel Khan, and responded with a beauty to rattle the stumps on the very next ball. Shane Watson got off to a solid start while wickets kept falling on the other end. Babar Azam and Umar Amin were sent back to the pavilion cheaply, and once again, Misbah Ul Haq came out to hold the innings together. The fans were finally treated to the much awaited face off between Wahab and Watson, with the former coming out on top this time as Hafeez grabbed an easy catch fielding at backward point. Misbah departed after scoring only 12 runs, much to United’s dismay, and Peshawar Zalmi continued to keep things tight. Islamabad United required 56 to win from the last five overs, which seemed probable with Sam Billings and Andre Russell on the pitch. However, Russell and Billings were both caught on the off side boundary in similar fashion on successive deliveries by Wahab Riaz, ending all hopes of a miraculous comeback. It was smooth sailing for Peshawar from then on, and they managed to seal a comfortable win as United could only manage 121/9 in their 20 overs. Zalmi have begun their campaign impressively, while United have suffered defeats in both their matches. Would be interesting to see how they bounce back from this. Full Scorecard

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Karachi seal convincing win as Amir takes a hat-trick! The stadium was buzzing with excitement as the ‘Big Two’ faced up against each other on Match Day two of the HBLPSL. Karachi Kings won the toss and elected to field first and straight away got down to business. Chris Gayle fell in the first over to Karachi’s captain Shoaib Malik shortly after hitting him for a boundary towards mid on. Azhar Ali looked to be in good touch and tried to build a partnership with Cameron Delport on the other end, but his cameo came to an end as he was totally bamboozled by a scintillating arm ball by Shakib Al Hasan. Karachi continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals as their spinners dominated proceedings. To make matters worse for Lahore Qalandars, Mohammad Amir stole the show with a hat trick after picking up Dwayne Bravo, Zohaib Khan and Kevon Cooper in three successive deliveries! Bowled, Caught, LBW, Amir’s hat trick had it all. Mohammad Rizwan tried to steady the ship but wasn’t helped at all by any of his team mates. He was the highest scorer in the innings with 37 from 31 balls, as Lahore Qalandars were restricted to a disappointing 128 for the loss of 8 wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Lahore Qalandars came out fighting and took two early wickets, courtesy Zia Ul Haq and Zafar Gohar. Shakib Al Hasan was dropped early on by Dwayne Bravo, and he made sure Lahore Qalandars paid for their missed opportunity by smashing boundaries all over the place later on. Together with Lendl Simmons, the pair dominated Qalandar’s bowling attack and added an impressive 109 runs partnership for the third wicket, loaded with boundaries. Karachi Kings cruised to their total with ease and secured their victory by seven wickets, with four overs to spare. Shakib Al Hasan grabbed the man of the match award for his all round performance. This tournament has really belonged to the spinners (barring the hat-trick from Amir of course) and with plenty of quality spinners in their side, Karachi Kings look like the team to beat. Till then, it’s back to the drawing board for Lahore Qalandars. Full Scorecard

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Quetta beat Islamabad convincingly courtesy Mohammad Nawaz and Luke Wright The opening ceremony set the stage pretty well to mark the beginning of the very first Pakistan Super League, and its first match did not disappoint! Islamabad United lost the toss and they were sent in to bat by Quetta Gladiators. It certainly seemed to be the right decision as the Gladiators got off to a brilliant start. Anwar Ali started off the innings with a maiden, and after that it was the Muhammad Nawaz show. The slow left armer bowled out Shane Watson and Sam Billings in quick succession and it was all downhill for Islamabad United after that. After 10 overs, United could only manage a mere 34 runs for the loss of 4 wickets. The captain Misbah Ul Haq came on to the crease and looked to steady the innings, as he always does, but found wickets falling all around him. Mohammad Nawaz ended up with figures of 4-0-13-4, and by the 15th over, Islamabad United were 64/6. Out stepped Andre Russell, a little later than what was expected, and turned on the fireworks. He smashed Umar Gul all over the park, and Misbah joined in on the fun too. Together, they tried to salvage the innings and added a quick fire 57 runs for the seventh wicket partnership, which helped United reach a total of 128/7, which at one point seemed improbable. Luke Wright came out all guns blazing for the Gladiators and got them off to a splendid start. He took on all the bowlers and was in no mood for mercy as Quetta scored their first 50 runs in less than 4 overs. Ahmad Shehzad was looking to support his partner but could not stay on the pitch for long, as he chipped towards the bowler Imran Khalid for an easy catch. Kevin Pietersen fell cheaply soon after while Wright raced to his half century in only 31 deliveries and made sure the Gladiators were always in control of the match. After 10 overs Quetta were 86/2, and it was only a matter of time before they finished things off. Luke Wright was the top scorer of the match with an unbeaten 86 from 53 balls as Quetta Gladiators won the first match convincingly by 8 wickets. Islamabad United will certainly look to pick themselves up from this, while there were many encouraging signs for the Gladiators. We can expect a lot from them in the coming weeks if they keep playing like this. Full Scorecard

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