HBL Pakistan Super League: Sarfraz finally strikes form, leads Quetta to inspiring win over Islamabad
LAHORE: Sarfraz Ahmed needed to lead from the front to end the seesaw match in Quetta Gladiators’ favour. And the captain did it in style, striking back-to-back fours off Hasan Ali to complete the job in the final over.
Having remained under constant criticism largely due to his peculiarly animated way of leading his team for quite some time, right-handed Sarfraz on Saturday showed glimpses of his belligerence as he smashed an invaluable half-century to lead Quetta to a richly-earned five-wicket victory over Islamabad United under lights here at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Chasing a mountain-like 200 against a decent bowling attack led by Shadab Khan, Quetta openers Jason Roy (54 off 27 balls, 10 fours and a six) and Ahsan Ali (23-ball 30, three fours and a six) gave their team a rollicking start of 88 in eight overs. Asking rate after the openers’ departure slowed down as James Vince (29 off 22) could not capitalise and was bowled by Shadab.
The task for Quetta became tougher when 70 were needed in the last six overs. But Sarfraz, who struck a 32-ball 50 not out batting at number four, and Umar Akmal (23 off eight comprising three sixes) had other ideas. Both added 52 runs for the fifth wicket partnership banging a string of lofted strokes and brought their team on the verge of victory. Though Umar attempting an attacking shot was caught by Asif Ali off pacer Mohammad Wasim, he had done his part for Quetta. Shadab’s lone effort with the ball (3-25) proved insufficient in the end.
Earlier on Saturday, Islamabad posted a handsome 199-8 off the stipulated overs mainly due to opener Alex Hales’ 38-ball 62 laced with four fours and as many sixes and left-hander Faheem Ashraf’s late onslaught as he struck a brisk 55 off 28 hitting five fours and four sixes. Islamabad from a strong 100-1 had slumped to 109-6 in a space of 14 balls, but Faheem made sure they finish well.
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi (2-27) and James Faulkner (2-47) were the primary wicket takers for Quetta.
With this win, Quetta remain fourth with six points from six games while Islamabad hold onto third place (six points in as many games) due to relatively better run-rate.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz b Naseem19
Alex Hales run out62
Shadab Khan c Ahsan b Afridi12
Asif Ali c Sarfaraz b Noor6
Mohammad Akhlaq lbw b Afridi0
Azam Khan run out0
Liam Dawson b Faulkner13
Faheem Ashraf c Noor b Faulkner55
Hasan Ali not out0
Mohammad Wasim not out12
EXTRAS (LB-4, W-16)20
TOTAL (for eight wkts, 20 overs)199
DID NOT BAT: Zeeshan Zameer
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-48 (Rahmanullah Gurbaz), 2-100 (Shadab Khan), 3-102 (Alex Hales), 4-102 (Muhammad Akhlaq), 5-102 (Azam Khan), 6-109 (Asif Ali), 7-187 (Faheem Ashraf), 8-187 (Liam Dawson)
BOWLING: Afridi 4-0-27-2 (3w); Faulkner 4-0-47-2; Naseem 4-0-43-1 (1w); Mudassar 3-0-40-0 (2w); Noor 4-0-27-1 (3w); Iftikhar 1-0-11-0
Jason Roy b Shadab54
Ahsan Ali lbw b Dawson30
James Vince b Shadab29
Sarfaraz Ahmed not out50
Iftikhar Ahmed c Wasim b Shadab4
Umar Akmal c Asif b Wasim23
James Faulkner not out1
EXTRAS (B-4, W-8)12
TOTAL (for five wickets, 19.4 overs)203
DID NOT BAT: Shahid Afridi, Noor Ahmad, Naseem Shah, Ghulam Mudassar
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-88 (Jason Roy), 2-92 (Ahsan Ali), 3-130 (James Vince), 4-139 (Iftikhar Ahmed), 5-191 (Umar Akmal)
BOWLING: Dawson 4-0-30-1; Faheem 3-0-27-0 (1w); Wasim 4-0-61-1 (2w); Hasan 3.4-0-49-0 (2w); Shadab 4-0-25-3 (1w); Zeeshan 1-0-7-0
RESULT: Quetta Gladiators win by five wickets.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Sarfaraz Ahmed
UMPIRES: Faisal Afridi (Pakistan), Richard Illingworth (England)
TV UMPIRE: Aleem Dar (Pakistan)
MATCH REFEREE: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2022