Recent Match Report – Gladiators vs United 21st Match 2022/23
Islamabad United 183 for 8 (Munro 63, Ashraf 39*, Umaid 3-37) beat Quetta Gladiators 179 for 6 (Najibullah 59, Nawaz 52, Farooqi 3-25) by two wickets
Nawaz and Zadran led a recovery effort, putting together a 104-run partnership that lifted their side out of the doldrums. Perhaps learning from Lahore Qalandars, they refused to consolidate after losing early wickets, going after the bowling even as it made the loss of wickets more probable. They were rewarded for that intrepid approach, and within relatively little time, the run rate crept upwards. When Farooqi got rid of Nawaz, he had scored a half-century, and with four overs to go, Gladiators were set up for a big finish.
United wobbled in the passage of play that followed. Shadab Khan holed out to Iftikhar before Nawaz struck next ball to draw the curtain on the Munro show. Umaid cleaned up Mubasir as he heaved at one with little convictions, before Nawaz got one to skid on to Asif Ali to suddenly leave the two-time champions reeling.
United still needed 69 from nine overs and had just four wickets left. But just as Faheem and Azam had put on a vital rearguard stand earlier in the week, they rose to the occasion once more. Aware they needed to consolidate – anathema to United’s ostensible philosophy – it wasn’t until his 17th ball that Azam struck his first boundary. Ashraf, too, bided his time as they took the game to the final three overs, of which United needed 31.
Azam roared to life at this moment, pummelling Naveen-ul-Haq for a four and a six, before pulling Umaid for six more to bring the asking rate almost run a ball. He fell the next ball and Hasan Ali holed out soon after, leaving Ashraf needing nine in the final over.
It took him just three balls as Smith missed his lengths, with the experienced United allrounder hitting three fours to take his side through, and leave Gladiators on the cusp of their fourth straight elimination.