Sharjeel, Watson fire as United down Qalandars by eight wickets

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SHARJAH: Openers Sharjeel Khan and Shane Watson scored impressive half-centuries as Islamabad United down Lahore Qalandars by eight wickets at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

In pursuit of Qalandars’ 166-6, United made 169 for the loss of two wickets courtesy a quick-fire and unbeaten 43-ball 79 by Khan.

Khan hit five 4s and seven 6s in his blistering knock.

The hard-hitting Pakistan national was accompanied by Watson, who scored 79 off 47 balls. Watson’s innings included four 4s and seven 6s.

For Qalandars, only Ehsan Adil managed to provide his team with a couple of breakthroughs. He dismissed Watson in the 14th over when United had already scored 153 runs and were nearing in on the chase, and returned to dismiss Andre Russell for two in the 16th over.

Qalandars’ score of 166 was mainly due to a late assault by Mohammad Rizwan. He scored a 27-ball fifty (not out) and his innings included five 4s and three 6s.

The in-form batsman Umar Akmal (23 off 23) and Naved Yasin (25 off 28) had recovered Qalandars innings after United’s pace spearhead Mohammad Sami threatened to expose a weak link in their batting line-up by striking twice earlier in the game.

Sami clean bowled Cameron Delport (three) on the first delivery of his spell, and later got Qalandars’ skipper Azhar Ali trapped leg before on 27.

For United, Rumman Raees, Imran Khalid and Saeed Ajmal took one wicket each.

Dwayne Bravo coming in to bat at number five looked dangerous after scoring a quick 26 on 17 balls, but ran himself out in search for a quick single.

Earlier, United had won the toss and opted to bowl first.

Shane Watson was in lead for United after Misbah-ul-Haq failed to recover from his injury while Qalandars once again missed the services of master blaster Chris Gayle.

The Sharjah track was tipped to produce plenty of runs after Dubai proved to be a happy hunting ground for bowlers in the first eight matches.

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