United achieve victory over Gladiators

Colin Munro’s quickfire 29-ball 63 and Faheem Ashraf’s unbeaten 31-ball 39 stormed Islamabad United to a thrilling two-wicket victory against Quetta Gladiators in the 21st match of the eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Umar Akmal’s blistering unconquered 14-ball 43 and Najibullah Zadran’s 34-ball 59 powered Quetta Gladiators to 179-6 in the marquee tournament. At one stage, the United bowlers applied a coup de grace against the Gladiators’ batters. The Gladiators were four down for just 17. But it was Najibullah Zadran and Mohammad Nawaz, who stitched a formidable partnership of 104 off 64.

Fazalhaq Farooqi, was the standout bowler for the United who bagged the wicket of Mohammad Nawaz. Nawaz scored 44-ball 52, studding with six boundaries. Najibullah was cleaned up by Rumman Raees. Najibullah Zadran whacked five boundaries and three towering sixes. Later on, it was the fireworks from Umar Akmal’s willow that paved way for the Gladiators posting a decent total. Umar Akmal remained not out, scoring 14-ball 43, clobbering five boundaries and three maximums.

With the exception of Nawaz, Zadran and Akmal, none of the Gladiators’ batters could reach double figures. Yasir Khan (5), Will Smeed (0), Sarfaraz Ahmed (3), Iftikhar Ahmed (2) and Odean Smith (4) failed to show any significant resistance. For the United, Fazalhaq Farooqi (3-25) spearheaded his time, scooping up three wickets. Faheem Ashraf (2-29) picked up two wickets. Rumman Raees bowled a decent spell, conceding just 29 in his four overs and bagged a wicket. Mubasir Khan (0-23), Hasan Ali (0-36) and Shadab Khan (0-32) remained wicketless.

Faheem Ashraf, who is in Islamabad United of the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) eighth edition, feels that overpowering the fear of failure is one of the key reasons for his team’s success in the tournament. Faheem said that when a player is empowered to play his natural game the way he wants, then it is very much likely that his performance will produce great results for the team. “In United’s squad, we are not afraid of losing a match, we don’t think about any consequences of losing a match, we are only focused on winning – nothing else,” Faheem said.

“When you think about things like what will happen if I am not successful then it will not allow you to try new things or adopt anything out of the box which could have helped you,” the all-rounder said. Islamabad United is the only team to win the PSL twice and is known for its aggressive brand of cricket. However, Faheem believes that the team plays “aggressive and smart cricket”. “The captain and the team management have told us to express ourselves in our natural way and when you have such freedom to express yourself, you feel confident while playing your game,” Faheem added.