Twitter Reactions: Islamabad United pull off a heist courtesy Lewis Gregory's heroics

Twitter Reactions: Islamabad United pull off a heist courtesy Lewis Gregory’s heroics

Gregory went berserk against a hapless Sohail Tanvir, smacking him for a six and then three consecutive fours to bring his team within the frame of victory.

Islamabad United
Lewis Gregory and Zafar Gohar celebrate. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Islamabad United pulled off a heist against the Multan Sultans after losing their way during a simple chase, courtesy of a masterful, unbeaten 49 off 31 from Lewis Gregory, whose never-say-die approach led his team to a three-wicket victory with six balls to spare.

After being put in, the Islamabad United made a sedate start as Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf kept their lines tight, giving neither Chris Lynn nor Mohammad Rizwan any chance to open their arms. 10 balls into the innings without a single boundary built pressure on Lynn, who perished to Ashraf in the second over while attempting a break free shot, only to edge a simple take for the keeper behind.

Rizwan scored the first boundary of the innings in the third over when Mohammad Wasim presented him with a gift: pitched it short and wide, inviting the batsman to grab the chance. Coming after a spectacular run of form against South Africa – Rizwan notably became the first Pakistan player to notch up three consecutive T20I half-centuries – he managed to load the form and the boundary just got him moving.

Rizwan’s lone battle amidst tumbling wickets

Rizwan top-edged Ashraf for a six over fine leg, and followed that by a four in the same region to make his intentions loud and clear. James Vince got into his rhythm, too, as he hammered Lewis Gregory over deep midwicket, which led the Shadab Khan, Sultans’ skipper, to turn to the left-arm orthodox of the emerging talent Zafar Gohar. The spinner would have had his man, had Faheem managed to cling on to a chance at long-on.

The drop did not prove costly as Ashraf did not miss the second chance off Gregory in the immediately following over. The new man, Rilee Rossouw, raced off to 25 from 14, hitting back-to-back sixes against Shadab Khan, before giving a fairly simple chance to Mohammad Wasim in the same over. Wasim accounted for Sohaib Maqsood’s wicket in the next over, as the batsman failed to clear the fielder in the deep.

Rizwan kept the runs flowing from his end as he notched up his 50 from 31 balls, however, once Khushdil Shah skied a top-edge off Gregory to long-on, Rizwan’s innings lost all the momentum, as did Sultans.

The United sneaked in a couple of quiet overs before Rizwan and Carlos Brathwaite attacked Faheem in the 18th over, picking 14 runs. Mohammad Waseem struck on successive deliveries in the penultimate over, cleaning up Rizwan before getting Shahid Afridi caught inside the ring to ensure that the control during the middle-phase was not lost.

United disunited

The United seemed in control of things during the chase with Phil Salt and Alex Hales scoring runs freely. Although, Salt’s dismissal in the fourth over opened the doors for the Sultans to barge in, and they did. Salt departed on a full toss from Umar, and Shadab Khan followed him to the pavilion soon, managing to hit Carlos Braithwaite’s shorter delivery no farther than Rossouw at midwicket.

Shahid Afridi might have failed to make it count with the bat, but with the ball, he was on target. He tightened the noose around the United, cleaning up Alex Hales in the 7th over before claiming for Asif Ali in the 11th. A suicidal run from Iftikhar Ahmed in the same over followed by Hussain Talat’s dismissal in the next meant that the United found themselves reeling at 74/6, still needing as many for the win as they had scored until then.

Gregory-Ashraf’s rearguard

With time running out thick and fast and the victory seeming out of reach, Lewis Gregory found some support from Faheem Ashraf, who upped the ante by whacking Mohammad Umar for a six and four in the 14th over. Having raced off to 22 from just 12, Ashraf fell to Brathwaite in the 16th over, to bring his 43-run stand with Gregory to end.

Brathwaite threw Gregory under the pump, allowing him to score only 5 runs in the 18th over, as the situation distilled down to 20 from 12. Gregory went berserk against a hapless Sohail Tanvir, smacking him for a six and then three consecutive fours to bring his team within the frame of victory. Only one short of his half-century, Gregory was denied that by a wide from Sohaibullah, but that was the game for Islamabad United.

Here’s how Twitter reacted: