Islamabad united Beat 183 for 8 (Munro 63, Ashraf 39*, Umaid 3-37) Quetta Gladiators 179 for 6 (Najibullah 59, Nawaz 52, Farooqi 3-25) by two wickets
Nawaz and Zadran led a recovery effort to form a 104-run partnership that lifted their side. Perhaps learning from Lahore Qalandars, they refused to consolidate after losing early wickets, and went after bowling even though it made losing wickets more likely. They were rewarded for that intrepid approach and within a relatively short time the run rate crept up. When Farooqi got rid of Nawaz, he had scored half a century, and with four overs to go, Gladiators were poised for a big finish.
United wobbled in the passage of play that followed. Shadab Khan holed out to Iftikhar before Nawaz hit the next ball to draw the curtain for the Munro show. Umaid cleared Mubasir as he lashed out at one with little conviction before Nawaz got one that slipped to Asif Ali to suddenly shake the two-time champion.
United still needed 69 from nine overs and were down to four wickets. But just as Faheem and Azam had taken a vital rearguard earlier this week, they seized the opportunity again. Aware that they needed to consolidate – an abomination to United’s apparent philosophy – it was not until his 17th ball that Azam hit his first boundary. Ashraf also bided his time as they took the game to the last three overs, of which United needed 31.
Azam came roaring to life at this point, beating Naveen-ul-Haq for a four and a six, before drawing Umaid for another six to make the demand rate run nearly a ball. He fell the next ball and Hasan Ali hollowed out soon after, leaving Ashraf with nine in the final.
It took him just three balls as Smith missed his length, with United’s experienced all-rounder hitting three fours to get his side through and leaving Gladiators on the brink of their fourth successive elimination.