PSL 8: Azam’s dazzling fireworks for United depart Gladiators shellshocked – Sport

The attendance in Karachi’s Nationwide Stadium stands was too much less for a Friday evening HBL Pakistan Tremendous League (PSL) encounter. However when Azam Khan performed for Islamabad United, the sparse crowd chanted his identify in unison. They sounded loud sufficient to make the venue appear jam-packed.

In any case, what was taking place in entrance of their eyes, was exhilarating in any case, thrilling and value every penny of the ticket value.

For Quetta Gladiators, Azam’s present was nothing lower than surprising. After Sarfraz Ahmed’s bowlers had diminished United to 71-4 by the midway stage, the cumbersome right-hander went on to show he was probably the greatest power-hitters in Pakistan, plundering the Quetta bowlers for 97 off 42 balls — an innings studded with 9 fours and eight jaw-dropping sixes.

He received the right assist from one other power-hitter in Asif Ali, who hit a 4 and 4 sixes in his 24-ball knock for 42, which added to the duo’s partnership of 98 off 45 balls for the fifth wicket as United posted 220-6.

It was an excessive amount of for Quetta to cope with as they noticed themselves fall quick by 63 runs, registering their fourth defeat in 5 matches.

Barring Colin Munro’s 38 off 22 earlier than the New Zealander was castled by rising pacer Aimal Khan, the United high order did not ship.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who had scored a blistering half-century towards Peshawar Zalmi a day earlier fell early to an excellent fielding effort by Iftikhar Ahmed whereas Rassie van der Dussen additionally failed to remain for lengthy on the crease.

United captain Shadab Khan, who himself was cleaned up by Odean Smith, should have been questioning his determination of batting first after profitable the toss.

However as quickly as Azam arrived on the crease, Shadab’s doubts should have vanished.
After Asif commenced his fireworks with a pull for six off Aimal, Azam caressed Mohammad Nawaz’s left-arm spin previous further cowl for his first boundary.

Azam hit the primary of his sixes with a trendy shot off Smith to wrap up the thirteenth over. The highly effective batter executed a fair higher hit when he uncovered his stumps to loft Nawaz to make the ball journey the gap over the long-off boundary after Asif had swept the spinner for a 4.

The 24-year-old Azam was hardly differentiating between the Quetta spinners and pacers.

He squeezed Naseem Shah previous level earlier than smashing the pacer over his head for 2 fours within the fifteenth over. He introduced up his 50 in 29 balls with a guided shot previous quick third man for an additional boundary off Aimal earlier than Asif slashed the fast over cowl for a six. Azam completed the over with an uppercut for an additional six.

The seventeenth over noticed Asif and Azam hit three sixes off Mohammad Hasnain’s tempo earlier than the previous lastly faltered and fell to Shah, who noticed himself punished by Azam for bowling a shorter one because the batter discovered the hole between quick third man and level. He pulled Hasnain for 2 big sixes earlier than taking place on his knees and sweeping for an additional audacious most as United crossed the 200 mark.

After Faheem Ashraf had performed his half with two fours and a six, Azam thrashed Smith for an additional boundary and a most earlier than getting castles by the West Indies all-rounder, narrowly lacking out on the document for the quickest century in PSL historical past. Nonetheless, Quetta had been already underneath piles of distress.

The Gladiators’ response was removed from passable. And in the event that they confirmed indicators of posing a combat, it was when Mohammad Hafeez (48 off 26) and Sarfraz Ahmed (41 off 35) had been taking part in.

After the pair’s fourth-wicket partnership of 69 off 45 balls ended with Hafeez’s dismissal by Afghan pacer Fazal Haq Farooqi, Quetta by no means actually received going.

After Farooqi had cleaned up opener Martin Guptill with a pointy in-swinger and spinner Abrar Ahmed had despatched Will Smeed — taking part in his first match this season — and Jason Roy again to the dugout early, Hafeez counter-attacked by smashing pacer Hasan Ali over the covers earlier than scooping him for a six.

The veteran batter guided Faheem’s medium tempo behind for an additional boundary within the sixth over earlier than Sarfraz pulled the pacer for a flat six over sq. leg with 61-3 on the board by the tip of the powerplay.

Hafeez hit one other 4 and an enormous six over lengthy on off Hasan within the ninth over as Quetta appeared for the primary time threatened to grab the sport from United, however the right-hander’s keep on the crease ended two overs later, with the Gladiators reeling at 94-4.

The incoming Iftikhar’s 39 off 27, which noticed the muscular batter hit three fours and two sixes, solely performed harm management for the Quetta outfit earlier than Hasan took two extra wickets and Farooqi and Shadab took yet another every to bowl out their opponents for 157 with 5 balls to spare.

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