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United crush Gladiators to set up PSL 9 Eliminator 2 clash with Zalmi

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KARACHI: A combined bowling and batting performance powered Islamabad United to humble Quetta Gladiators in the Eliminator 1 of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 here at National Bank Stadium on Friday.

The 39-run victory marked the end of Quetta Gladiators’ PSL 9 campaign while Islamabad United progressed to the Eliminator 2 where they will lock horns with Peshawar Zalmi.

Chasing 175, the Gladiators had a disastrous start to the pursuit as they lost half of their side inside the batting powerplay with just 16 runs on the board.

Akeal Hosein then offered some counterpunching with a blazing cameo and knitted a crucial 52-run partnership with Omair Bin Yousuf.

Hosein had a frustrating end to his sensational cameo as he got run out after a terrible mix-up with Yousuf in the 11th over.

He remained a notable contributor for the Gladiators with 31 off 18 deliveries, laced with two boundaries and three sixes.

Yousuf was then involved in another notable partnership when he added 41 runs for the eighth wicket with Mohammad Amir, who scored a brisk 23 off 14.

He finally perished in the 18th over after scoring a fighting half-century. His 50-run knock came off 37 deliveries and included four boundaries and a six.

Imad Wasim led the bowling attack for the United with 3/12 in his four overs, followed by Naseem Shah, who bagged two while Obed McCoy, Hunain Shah and Faheem Ashraf made one scalp each.

Shadab Khan’s decision to bat first, bore fruits for the United as the two-time champions got off to a flying start to their innings.

Their new opening pair of Martin Guptill and Alex Hales put together a 51-run partnership which lasted in the sixth over.

Guptill dominated the opening stand while Hales was finding it hard to score freely before he fell victim to Akeal Hosein after a 20-ball 23 which featured three boundaries including two sixes.

Salman Ali Agha then joined Guptil in the middle and added an important 51 runs for the second wicket before falling victim to Saud Shakeel in the 12th over.

He smashed two boundaries and a six on his way to a 21-ball 31.

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Skipper Shadab Khan (23) and Azam Khan (18) then partnered briefly with Guptill and made modest contributions with brisk cameos in the middle overs.

Azam’s dismissal sparked a lower-middle order collapse as Quetta Gladiators’ bowling unit regrouped and forced a comeback with regular strikes including United’s batting mainstay Guptill.

Martin Guptill remained the top-scorer for the United with a 47-ball 56 which included five boundaries and a six.

Consequently, the two-time champions lost six wickets in the span of just 15 deliveries before Naseem Shah smashed Mohammad Amir for a six on the final delivery of the innings.

Mohammad Amir and Akeal Hosein bagged two wickets each for the Gladiators while Mohammad Wasim Jr, Saud Shakeel and Abrar Ahmed struck out a batter apiece.

It is worth mentioning here that the winner of the Eliminator 1 will take on Peshawar Zalmi in the Eliminator 2 on Saturday in a bid to make their way to the PSL 9 final.

READ: Daren Sammy calls for captain, coach communication during matches

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