Quetta Gladiators rout Islamabad to top PSL standings
If the Pakistan selectors thought that they took the right decision of dropping Ahmed Shehzad from the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup squads as he was low on confidence after a poor run of form, they will need to think again.
The 24-year-old came out with guns blazing on Thursday night to scorch his way to 41 from 31 balls and help Quetta Gladiators maintain a clean sheet in the Pakistan Super League with an easy seven wicket win over Islamabad United at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
A target of 118 was not something to sweat about for Quetta especially under cool conditions. But Andre Russell struck two vital blows off successive balls to get rid of Luke Wright and Kevin Pietersen. Suddenly Quetta were 14 for 2 and victory looked a tall order. But Shehzad put their nerves to rest with some classy strokes, caressing the boundary on four occasions and clearing it once.
When he departed Quetta needed another 44 runs but captain Sarfraz Ahmed played sensibly for his unbeaten half century to ensure his team won the match with 23 balls to spare and topple Peshawar Zalmi from the standings.
Islamabad are on four points and can still keep their chin up but with three matches to go they will need to come to the party. The teams who need to worry are Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars with two points apiece. Earlier, Sarfraz won the toss for Quetta and elected to field. The move paid dividends as his bowlers came up trumps with wickets at regular intervals.
Except for Shane Watson who stood firm with a 40 the rest crumbled against some good bowling from Grant Elliott (3/25), Zulfiqar Babar ( 2/ 29) and Aizaz Cheema (2/14). Brief scores: Islamabad United 117 all out in 19.1 overs (Shane Watson 40; Grant Elliott 3/25, Zulfiqar Babar 2/29, Aizaz Cheema 2/14) Quetta Gladiators (Sarfraz Khan 51 not out, Ahmed Shehzad 41; Andre Russell 3/18).