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Nervy Gladiators down United to complete winning hat-trick in PSL 9

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LAHORE: Rilee Rossouw scored a gutsy 34 after a combined bowling effort to guide Quetta Gladiators to a narrow three-wicket victory over Islamabad United in the eighth match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 here on Thursday.

Quetta Gladiators extended their dream start to the PSL 9 campaign as they completed a hat-trick of victories with an enthralling victory over two-time champions Islamabad United.

But, the Gladiators had to make hard yards to amass the 139-run target as they lost seven wickets in the process.

The 2019 champions had a flying start to the pursuit despite Saud Shakeel’s early dismissal as they brought up 49 runs in the first five overs.

But returning pacer Rumman Raees cleaned up batting prodigy Khawaja Nafay (nine) in the sixth over to spark a collapse.

The Gladiators lost two more wickets — Jason Roy and Sarfaraz Ahmed — in quick succession and consequently slipped to 54/4 in 7.1 overs.

Roy remained the top-scorer for the Gladiators with an 18-ball 37 which featured six fours and a six while Sarfaraz could score a mere one.

Following the slump, Sherfane Rutherford joined skipper Rilee Rossouw and launched an astounding recovery.

The pair batted sensibly and added a crucial 62 runs to the total before Naseem Shah castled Rutherford in the 16th over. He scored 29 off 23 deliveries, hitting one four and two sixes.

Rutherford’s dismissal ushered the United with hope and they forced a late comeback by picking up two quick wickets, bringing the Gladiators down to 127/7 with 12 required off 17 deliveries.

But Gladiators’ No.9 Mohammad Amir cut short United’s comeback with a sensational cameo and guided his side to a tense victory. He scored 11 not out off six deliveries with the help of two boundaries.

Gladiators’ captain Rossouw carried his bat all the way through with an unbeaten 34 off 38. His sensible knock in the run chase and two catches earned him the Player of the Match award.

Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan claimed two wickets each for the United while Hunain Shah and Raees struck out a batter apiece.

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Put into bat first, the strong batting unit of the United could yield 138/9 in the allotted 20 overs.

The two-time champions had a flying start to their innings with Alex Hales smashing two back-to-back sixes to Akeal Hosein in the third over. But the spinner hit back and dismissed him on the next delivery.

He also hit a boundary on his way to a nine-ball 21.

Following the early debacle, Salman Ali Agha partnered with Colin Munro and anchored the innings with a 40-run partnership.

The duo appeared to have settled down before Abrar Ahmed got rid of Munro in the eighth over with 69 runs on the board.

Munro scored a scratchy 20 off 22 with the help of one boundary and a six.

His dismissal ignited a middle-order collapse as the United slipped to 87/5 in 11.3 overs with set batter Agha also walking back.

He remained the top-scorer for the United with a 23-ball 33 with the help of five boundaries.

With the United in heaps of trouble, Imad Wasim and Jordan Cox put together a cautious partnership for the sixth wicket but struggled to get going against the ruthless Gladiators’ bowling attack.

They could add 18 runs to the total before Abrar dismissed Imad in the 16th over, who scored nine off 15.

Cox, on the other hand, fell in the 18th over after scoring 20 off 14 deliveries.

Abrar and Mohammad Wasim Jr bagged three wickets each for the Gladiators while Hosein picked up two.

READ: Naveen-ul-Haq set to join Peshawar Zalmi for PSL 9

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