Ashraf, Stirling script Islamabad win over Quetta in PSL

Faheem Ashraf picked up four wickets and Paul Stirling scored a quickfire half-century to consign Quetta Gladiators to its fourth consecutive defeat.

Islamabad United’s Paul Stirling (left) raises his bat after reaching 50 during the PSL 6 contest at the National Stadium in Karachi.   -  AP

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf and Paul Stirling starred in Islamabad United’s emphatic six-wicket victory over winless Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League on Tuesday. Fast bowler Ashraf’s 3 for 11 limited Quetta to 156 for 7 and then Stirling smashed 56 off 33 balls as Islamabad eased to 157 for 4 with three balls to spare.

The match was rescheduled for Tuesday after Islamabad’s leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Two more foreign cricketers, including one unidentified Islamabad player, tested positive on Tuesday before the Pakistan Cricket Board decided to go ahead with country’s premier Twenty20 tournament.

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Quetta’s fourth successive loss at the toss continued a trend, as all 12 preliminary round matches have been won by teams chasing with all six captains opting to field first after winning the toss. Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad and Lahore Qalandars share a three-way tie atop the leaderboard after the conclusion of fourth round matches, with each having won three of their four games.

Quetta skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed (54) hit his second successive half-century that featured four consecutive sixes off spinner Iftikhar Ahmed. But Islamabad always looked ahead after fast bowlers Hasan Ali (2 for 23) and Ashraf picked up four wickets inside the first six overs of Quetta’s batting Powerplay.

Sarfaraz Ahmed plays a stroke en route to his 54 in the PSL contest on Tuesday. - AP

 

Ashraf sent Cameron Delport’s off-stump cartwheeling off his first delivery before trapping Sarfaraz leg before wicket in his return spell as Quetta could score only one six and a four in their last seven overs.

Rapid start

Stirling took the game away from Quetta within the first three overs by propelling the total to 44 for 0. The prolific Irish batsman hammered South Africa’s Dale Steyn for four boundaries in one over after smashing left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz for two boundaries and a six in the first over.

Legspinner Zahid Mahmood (2 for 29) clean bowled Stirling in the 10th over off a sharp googly, but Rohail Nazir (34), playing his first PSL game this season, and captain Shadab Khan (21) made useful contributions to take the two-time champion home.

Brief scores

Quetta Gladiators 156 for 7 in 20 overs (Sarfaraz 54; Ashraf 3 for 11) lost to Islamabad United 157 for 4 in 17 overs (Stirling 56) by six wickets.