PSL 2017, 1st Qualifying Final Review: Quetta Gladiators topple Peshawar Zalmi to enter finals after last ball thriller in run fest

PSL 2017, 1st Qualifying Final Review: Quetta Gladiators topple Peshawar Zalmi to enter finals after last ball thriller in run fest

Quetta Gladiators
Quetta Gladiators. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The stage was set for the top two teams of the league stages of the PSL 2017 to lock horns for the penultimate showdown. Peshawar Zalmi, who had toppled the Quetta Gladiators in their previous encounter, were up against the same side yet again. It was a certain Shahid Afridi show that had taken the game away from the Gladiators last time around. On the night of the 1st qualifying finals, it was almost the same yet again.

There was one man who apparently stood between the Quetta team and the finals, and it was Shahid Afridi. Despite his heroics though, the Gladiators managed to eke out a thrilling win. Coming into the match, it was Peshawar who won the toss. The Darren Sammy-led side opted to bowl first. They had to make two forced changes as Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan had to leave citing national duties.

English batsman Dawid Malan and English pacer Chris Jordan were the two players drafted in. Marlon Samuels was the fourth overseas player in the side. The Gladiators, on the other hand, roped in Luke Wright in place of Mahmudullah in their side. Rilee Rossouw, Kevin Pietersen and Tymal Mills were the other three players forming the overseas quartet.

Luke Wright came in to open the innings for Quetta Gladiators along with Ahmed Shehzad. Wright looked in top form as he hit a four and a six to clear his intentions. However, Hasan Ali made short work of him and sent him packing on 12 to get Kevin Pietersen to the crease. KP and Shehzad then got off to a rampaging start as they put on 59 in the powerplay. Together they added 90 runs off mere 42 balls for the second wicket.

En route the blitzkrieg partnership, Shehzad brought up his quick fifty. The partnership was eventually broken when Darren Sammy managed to dismiss Ahmed Shehzad on 71 in the 10th over. Shehzad’s knock came off 38 deliveries with 7 fours and 4 sixes. Rossouw was the new man in. At the half way stage, the Gladiators were 121/2.

Rossouw had a rare off day at the office and struggled at the crease. He lost the support of Pietersen, who scored 40 off 22 balls with 2 fours and three sixes befoe being dismissed by Wahab Riaz in the 12th over. Rossouw’s struggle of 18 balls yielded 17 runs before he became Riaz’s second victim of the night. A quick 20 off 10 balls from Anwar Ali towards the end saw Quetta Gladiators finish with 200/7 in their 20 overs. Riaz was the pick of the bowlers with 3/39 to his name.

Peshawar Zalmi had a very poor start to their run chase. They had Dawid Malan opening with Kamran Akmal. Akmal was cleaned up by Zulfiqar Babar in the second over for just 1. Samuels was dismissed on that identical score in the very same over after a terrible mix-up at the crease. An out of form Mohammad Hafeez joined Dawid Malan at the crease. There were two batsmen – one out of form. But the way they batted was of absolute delight.

The two batsmen looked like taking the game away from the Gladiators. Both reached their respective fifties and rallied along. After adding up 139 runs off 72 balls, the partnership eventually ended. Hafeez’s whirlwind knock of 77 off mere 47 deliveries was embellished with 5 fours and 6 maximums. It was Mohammad Nawaz who got the breakthrough for Peshawar Zalmi in the 14th over. Malan perished an over later as he was caught and bowled by Tymal Mills on 56 that came off just 30 deliveries with 8 fours and a six.

Haris Sohail had a poor game and was cleaned up by Nawaz on 6. It was time for the boom boom then. Afridi blasted 34 off just 13 deliveries with 4 sixes and a four to bring the equation down to 7 needed off the final 7 deliveries. It was just then when Anwar Ali had him caught at long-on as the veteran batsman tried to clear one more over the ropes. With 7 needed off the final over, skipper Darren Sammy was joined by Chris Jordan at the crease.

Nawaz, who had leaked 46 runs in his previous 3 overs, was handed the ball by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. Nawaz started off with a dot ball and then was hit for a four by Sammy to get the equation down to 3 needed off 4 balls. Sammy took a single and things changed right there. The Peshawar Zalmi lost three wickets in the last three balls to eventually fall short by one run as Quetta Gladiators became the first team to head to Lahore for the PSL finals.

Brief Scores:

Quetta Gladiators 200/7 in 20 overs (Shehzad 71, Pietersen 40, Riaz 3/39, Hasan Ali 1/41)

Peshawar Zalmi 199/9 in 20 overs (Hafeez 77, Malan 56, Nawaz 3/51, Anwar Ali 1/25)