Islamabad United booked their place in the playoffs with a thrilling two-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators in the 21st match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 8 at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi.
Chasing a target of 180 runs, United reached their target with just three balls to spare. Colin Munro’s blistering knock of 63 runs off 29 balls, along with Faheem Ashraf’s unbeaten 39 off 31 balls and Azam Khan’s 35 off 25 balls, helped Islamabad United secure the victory.
United lost their first wicket in the first over when Rahmanullah Gurbaz was dismissed by Naseem Shah for a duck. However, Munro and Alex Hales then launched a counter-attack, adding 52 runs in just 25 balls.
Hales departed after scoring 12 runs in nine balls, and Munro continued to dominate with skipper Shadab Khan. Munro’s dismissal triggered a mini-collapse, with United losing Shadab and two more quick wickets.
The Gladiators fought back with quick wickets, but a crucial partnership of 58 runs between Azam Khan and Faheem Ashraf kept United on track for victory.
Despite Umaid Asif claiming two wickets in the penultimate over, United held their nerve to win in the final over.
Earlier in the match, United won the toss and chose to bowl first, restricting the Gladiators to 179/7.
Fazalhaq Farooqi and Faheem Ashraf both took two wickets each, while Rumman Raees and Hasan Ali also claimed a wicket each.
Mohammad Nawaz and Najibullah Zadran both scored half-centuries, rescuing their side from a precarious position of 17-4 with a superb partnership of 100 runs.
With this win, United became the second team after Lahore Qalandars to qualify for the playoffs.
On the other hand, the Gladiators, who are at the bottom of the points table, are almost eliminated from the tournament as they would need to win all their remaining games and hope for other results to go their way to make it to the playoffs.