The first match of HBL Pakistan Super League did not disappoint. Islamabad United lost the toss and they were sent in to bat by Quetta Gladiators. It seemed to be the right decision as the Quetta got off to a brilliant start. Anwar Ali started off the innings with a maiden, and after that it was the Muhammad Nawaz show. The left arm finger spinner bowled out Shane Watson and Sam Billings in quick succession and it was all downhill for Islamabad United after that. After 10 overs, United could only manage a mere 34 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
The captain Misbah Ul Haq came on to the crease and looked to steady the innings, as he always does, but found wickets falling all around him. Mohammad Nawaz ended up with figures of 4-0-13-4, and by the 15th over, Islamabad United were 64/6. Out stepped Andre Russell, a little later than what was expected, and turned on the fireworks. He smashed Umar Gul all over the park, and Misbah joined in on the fun too. Together, they tried to salvage the innings and added a quick fire 57 runs for the seventh wicket partnership, which helped United reach a total of 128/7, which at one point seemed improbable.
Luke Wright came out all guns blazing for the Gladiators and got them off to a splendid start. He took on all the bowlers and was in no mood for mercy as Quetta scored their first 50 runs in less than 4 overs. Ahmad Shehzad was looking to support his partner but could not stay on the pitch for long, as he chipped towards the bowler Imran Khalid for an easy catch. Kevin Pietersen fell cheaply soon after while Wright raced to his half century in only 31 deliveries and made sure the Gladiators were always in control of the match.
After 10 overs Quetta were 86/2, and it was only a matter of time before they finished things off. Luke Wright was the top scorer of the match with an unbeaten 86 from 53 balls as Quetta Gladiators won the first match convincingly by 8 wickets. Islamabad United will certainly look to pick themselves up from this, while there were many encouraging signs for the Gladiators. We can expect a lot from them in the coming weeks if they keep playing like this.