Hasan and Gurbaz star in Islamabad's big win over Peshawar

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KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Fast bowler Hasan Ali grabbed 3-35 and Rahmanullah Gurbaz made 62 off 31 balls in their first game of this season’s Pakistan Super League to spearhead two-time champions Islamabad United's six-wicket victory over Peshawar Zalmi on Thursday.

Hasan took the wheels off Peshawar’s blazing start with three wickets in the space of eight balls before captain Babar Azam’s unbeaten 75 anchored his team to 156-8.

Gurbaz capitalized on two dropped catches by James Neesham and raised his half century off 24 balls as Islamabad raced to 159-4 with 31 balls to spare and notched their second win in three games.

Young Pakistan power-hitter Mohammad Haris (40) and Babar both showed aggression in the batting powerplay as Peshawar motored to 69-0 in the first six overs. Both smashed nine boundaries and two sixes against fast bowlers in the powerplay and didn’t spare Hasan, who conceded 17 in his first over.

Islamabad captain Shadab Khan broke the threatening stand when Haris scooped a return catch to the leg-spinner as he tried to play against the spin. Peshawar’s new signing Saim Ayub (3) fell for another disappointing knock when he was clean bowled by Mubasir Khan off a sharp googly that uprooted the leg stump of the left-hander.

Hasan then struck in quick succession by clean bowling Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Rowman Powell in his return over before getting Neesham caught behind off an inside edge as Peshawar slipped to 99-5 in the 12th over.

Babar couldn’t force the acceleration in the later half the innings as Islamabad fast bowlers allowed only 31 runs in the last five overs.

Islamabad’s belief in its batting powerhouse paid dividends despite losing by 52 runs in the last game against Multan Sultans. Gurbaz plundered seven boundaries and four sixes as Islamabad romped to 97-1 in the first eight overs.

Gurbaz was out on a miscued sweep against leg-spinner Usman Qadir, but Rassie van der Dussen (42) and power-hitter Asif Ali (29 not out) finished off the game.

Islamabad moved into second place with four points. First-place Multan Sultans have eight points from five games.

Islamabad will face struggling Quetta Gladiators on Friday.

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