Quetta Gladiators 161 for 3 (Watson 81*, U Akmal 44) beat Islamabad United 157 for 8 (Parnell 41, Tanvir 4-21, Fawad 3-15) by seven wickets
How the game played out
Career-best PSL figures from Sohail Tanvir, coupled with the type of destructive innings Quetta Gladiators have become accustomed to from Shane Watson, allowed the team to maintain their unbeaten record as they beat defending champions Islamabad United by seven wickets.
Quetta had begun dominantly, with Tanvir’s double-wicket maiden. Before long, Islamabad found themselves wobbling at 8 for 3, and it took spirited rearguards from Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, and most impressively Wayne Parnell – who smashed 41 off 20 – to dig them out of that hole. Despite the best efforts of Fawad Ahmed, the other star bowler alongside Tanvir, Islamabad demonstrated their batting depth, posting a very respectable 157.
Given the low-scoring games in Dubai on Saturday, it appeared a good total, but the brilliance of Umar Akmal turned it into something of a stroll. After Ahmed Shehzad and Rilee Rossouw perished early, he took charge with Watson happy to play second fiddle. The struggling Shadab Khan came in for the greatest punishment, several boundaries and one 98 metre six bringing the asking ate sharply down.
When an excellent catch from Cameron Delport finally dismissed Umar, the required rate was down to 7. Watson hadn’t yet entered top gear, and when he did, Islamabad found themselves about 25 runs short, his 55-ball 81 taking Quetta home with 10 balls to spare.
With Quetta having so dominated the start and finish, it’s hard to pinpoint a moment upon which the match turned. But Islamabad’s fate was sealed when Parnell bowled his first over to Umar. With Quetta at 33 for 2 and scoring at just 6.6, a win was by no means assured, but Umar smashing two fours and a six off that over set the template for how the chase would go. With Watson joining in, Islamabad simply didn’t bowl well enough to make this interesting.
Mohammad Sami bowled Watson on 29 only to realise he had done so off a no-ball, while Rumman Raees dropped the Australian off his own bowling when he was on 18. With the margins so fine, there was no way Islamabad could afford to make those mistakes.
More to follow
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.