KARACHI: Colin Munro produced a stunning display of hitting as Islamabad mauled Quetta Gladiators by a clinical margin of 10 wickets in their HBL Pakistan Super League 6 encounter at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Following a lacklustre campaign during the first leg in Karachi where the 2019 champions found themselves at base of the six-team standings table with just one victory, Quetta now need at least three victories from their five remaining fixtures to come into reckoning for the playoffs.
On a tacky sort of pitch — on which scoring freely seemed as difficult as batting at a beach — Quetta never found ways and means to get boundaries regularly against a resourceful bowling performance from the Islamabad United, who predictably enough, chose to field when Shadab Khan won the all-important toss They were sent packing for a miserable tally of 133, as they were bowled out on the last ball of their innings.
In contrast to what transpired in the first half of what eventually turned out to be a lop-sided encounter between two former champions, Islamabad rattled off the required runs in just 10 overs.
Fittingly enough, it was Munro who put Quetta out of their misery by reverse-sweeping spinner Mohammad Nawaz for a six over wide third man — the New Zealander’s fifth maximum in a buccaneering innings of 90 from mere 36 deliveries. His whirlwind knock also featured 12 fours.
Usman Khawaja, Munro’s left-handed opening partner, played second fiddle while sharing the quickest-ever 100-plus partnership in the HBL PSL history. Their astonishing assault on the Quetta bowling fetched them 137 runs in just 63 balls, three of them no-balls.
The Islamabad-born Khawaja, currently discarded by Australia from international duty, finished on 41, with his 27-ball stay embedded with six fours and a six, but there was no doubt who was the man-of-the-match — Munro.
It was a forgetful night for Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men, who now face a herculean task to climb up the ladder and stay in the hunt for the playoffs since their net run-rate further deteriorated to minus 1.662 with their latest defeat being the fifth in six outings.
Earlier in the evening, Quetta were in search of something extraordinary and that was briefly demonstrated by one of their new replacements from overseas — Andre Russell. Widely regarded as one of the most destructive hitters of a cricket ball, he smoked two successive sixes, took a blow on a side of his helmet and then perished for a six-ball 13 in an eventful 14th over, delivered by Mohammad Musa Khan, who replaced the injured Faheem Ashraf in the Islamabad XI. He was later replaced by Naseem Shah under the concussion substitute law.
Among other newcomers Jake Weatherald asserted himself as an adequate replacement with a composed effort after Quetta had got off to a wobbly start, plunging to 49-3 when captain Sarfaraz Ahmed edged Musa to wicket-keeper, Rohail Nazir, in the eighth over.
Weatherald, easily the top-scorer with 43 from 35 deliveries with the aid of three boundaries and two sixes, was undone by a magnificent delivery from the young fit-again pacer Akif Javed when the left-armer had the Australian cleaned up in the 13th over.
Azam Khan — who has been inducted in the Pakistan white-ball squad for the tours to England and the West Indies — had a muted celebration with 26 off 23 balls, but no one else contributed.
Mohammad Wasim was the pick of the bowlers as the 19-year-old from North Waziristan underlined his potential with two wickets for a dozen runs, while the experienced Hasan Ali made up for a wayward opening over, that cost 15 runs, with 2-24 and Musa bagged 2-38.
Usman Khan b Shadab 14
F. du Plessis b Wasim 5
J. Weatherald b Akif 43
Sarfaraz Ahmed c Rohail b Musa 2
Azam Khan c Rohail b Hasan 26
A.D. Russell c Wasim b Musa 13
Mohammad Nawaz b Wasim 4
J.D. Wildermuth run out 9
Khurram Shehzad run out 1
Mohammad Hasnain not out 0
Zahid Mahmood b Hasan 0
EXTRAS: (LB-8, W-7, NB-1) 16
TOTAL: (all out, 20 overs) 133
FALL OF WKTS: 1-23 (du Plessis), 2-39 Usman), 3-49 (Sarfaraz), 4-88 (Weatherald), 5-102 (Russell), 6-114 (Nawaz), 7-120 (Azam), 8-130 (Khurram), 9-133 (Wildermuth), 10-133 (Zahid).
BOWLING: Hasan Ali 4-0-24-2 (2w); Akif Javed 4-0-18-1 (2w); Mohammad Wasim 4-0-12-2; Shadab Khan 4-0-33-1; Mohammad Musa Khan 4-0-38-2 (1nb, 2w).
NOTE: Naseem Shah replaced A.D. Russell as a concussion substitution during Quetta innings.
U.T. Khawaja not out 41
C. Munro not out 90
EXTRAS: (LB-1, W-2, NB-3) 6
TOTAL: (for no wkt, 10 overs) 137
DID NOT BAT:Rohail Nazir, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim, Akif Javed, Mohammad Musa Khan.
BOWLING: Naseem Shah 2-0-26-0; Khurram Shehzad 2-0-29-0 (3nb); Wildermuth 1-0-12-0; Mohammad Hasnain 1-0-15-0; Zahid Mahmood 2-0-36-0; Mohammad Nawaz 2-0-18-0 (2w).
RESULT: Islamabad United won by 10 wickets.
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar and Shozab Raza.
TV UMPIRE: Rashid Riaz.
MATCH REFEREE: Javed Malik.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Colin Munro (Islamabad United).
SATURDAY’S FIXTURE:Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators (9:00pm PST).
Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021