PSL 2018, Match 22 Review: Quetta Gladiators win by six wickets; Zalmi knock the exit doors

PSL 2018, Match 22 Review: Quetta Gladiators win by six wickets; Zalmi knock the exit doors

The Gladiators find themselves at the top of the table after this win with 10 points in their account. 

Sarfraz Ahmed
Sarfraz Ahmed received the player of the match award. (Photo Source: Twitter)

What a comprehensive performance it was from the Quetta Gladiators, who outplayed the defending champions in every department. If ever there was to be a good time to deliver a high-quality performance, this was it and Peshawar Zalmi had no answer. It was a close match, but the Gladiators held their nerve in key moments and earned those crucial points.

Batting first, Kamran Akmal was dismissed for a first-ball duck. But there was nothing to worry about for the Zalmi unit as Hafeez paired up with Dwayne Smith to take the innings forward. Both these aggressive players took full charge of the innings and sidelined the bowlers’ efforts in the next 30 minutes or so.

Dwayne Smith was in a destructive mood, having spanked 5 sixes and a boundary inside the first 8 overs. He was batting on 49 off 33 balls when he miscued a shot off Shane Watson and scooped the ball up. Pietersen took the catch and it brought an end to their 56-run partnership.

Riki Wessels came into the middle to accompany Hafeez. Both these players failed to accumulate runs as smoothly and quickly as Smith, which eventually reflected on their scoring rate. They even lost a few wickets in the process of acceleration, which slumped them into an even worse position.

But skipper Darren Sammy was there to save his side from this predicament. Coming in at number 7, he did what he usually does, finish the innings off in style. The Caribbean legend smacked a 19-ball 36 to help Zalmi register 157 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in their 20 overs. Shane Watson was the pick of the bowlers, returning with figures of 2/26 for the Gladiators.

Skipper leads from the front!

Sarfraz Ahmed barely had anything to showcase with the bat this season, but he has something to cheer about currently. With the team battling to get over the winning line, things were getting all tricky and interesting. But the skipper maintained his composure to gift the Gladiators a very crucial win.

After losing Asad Shafiq early in the innings, Watson and Kevin Pietersen piled up the agony for the opponents, just the way they did it in their last game. Both players got good starts, but both departed in a span of 15 balls, pushing their side into some trouble. It has been the case this PSL season, two players stitch a good partnership but the middle order lets them down.

For a while it seemed as though history would repeat itself. Rameez Raja was dismissed a short while after KP walked back. They had lost 4 wickets with a tad more than 9 overs remaining. The target wasn’t completely out of reach, but another wicket here would’ve injected great life into the contest.

Rilee Rossouw and Sarfraz Ahmed were in the middle for the Gladiators. The experience of both these players came in very handy in this situation. There was no sense of panick and they approached the situation very sensibly. They didn’t have to rush for anything and kept ticking the scoreboard smartly.

Sarfraz Ahmed finished with a crucial 31-ball 45 and Rossouw with a 27-ball 30. The duo added 74 runs for the 5th wicket and remained unbeaten to take their side home with 4 balls remaining. The Gladiators find themselves at the top of the table after this win with 10 points in their account.

Brief Scores

Peshawar Zalmi: 157/5 in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith 49, Darren Sammy 36; Shane Watson 2/26)

Quetta Gladiators: 158/4 in 19.4 overs (Sarfraz Ahmed 45*, Shane Watson 37, Rilee Rossouw 30*)

Player of the match: Sarfraz Ahmed