Quetta Gladiators make it to the final with Watson’s heroics
Shane Watson defended 21 runs in last over when Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard were at the crease and led Quetta Gladiators to notch a 10-run victory over Peshawar Zalmi to reach the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for the third time.
Pollard and Sammy 83 runs on the scoreboard to put a good fight in front of a packed stadium in Karachi.
Yet another part-time bowler Ahsan Ali took Dawson at long-on to further boost the morale of Gladiators who are reading from the front. He made just five runs.
Part-time spinner Rilee Rossouw surprised the crowd by taking the wicket of Imam-ul-Haq. He kept the ball tight and straight and it went straight to hit the stumps. Rossouw was completing the over of Fawad Ahmed who got injured.
Mohammad Nawaz caught a blistering catch of his own bowling to dismiss Sohaib Maqsood who was struggling a bit. He made just seven runs.
Rilee Rossouw ran on his right to take a well-judged catch to remove the man in-from Kamran Akmal who made 22 runs.
Shane Watson smashed 71 runs off just 43 balls to inspire Quetta Gladiators to post a mammoth total of 187-6 in allotted 20 overs against Peshawar Zalmi in front of jam-packed National Stadium Karachi.
Watson and Ahsan Ali (46) put 111 runs partnership on the scoreboard as Gladiators were dominating the situation by reaching 100-1 in just 10 overs.
Zalmi were on top as their pacer Tymal Mills got rid of Ahmed Shahzad thrashing the stumps with a perfect yorker. Shahzad, who fell just one run short to his century in their last match against Quetta Gladiators, made just 14 runs.
Thereafter, Watson did the major work for his team smashing the ball all around the park and amused the fans with the power-pack show. Despite losing an early wicket, Watson didn’t take any pressure and his magnificent knock included five hits to fence and six maximums.
Later in the match when Gladiators were dominating, Wahab Riaz came to ball and created a twist getting the danger man Watson out with the length delivery on the middle stump. Watson missed the ball completely as it went straight to thrash the stumps.
Sameen Gul then trapped the ball in the legs of well-set Ahsan Ali as he got LBW. Ahsan tried to get a review but his partner Rossouw thought it was a clean decision. Ahsan made 46 and a worthy contribution with Watson to give a strong start to his team.
Umar Akmal played a cameo of 22 runs to further strengthen the total of the men in purple.
Wahab Riaz bagged two crucial wickets while apart from Dawson Hasan Ali, Tymal Mills, Sameen Gul and Kieron Pollard bagged a wicket each.
Left-arm pacer Tymal Mills bowled a perfect yorker on the off and it went straight to thrash the stumps to send Ahmed Shahzad back home. The wicket reduced Gladiators to 3-1 as Shahzad scored just a run.
The wait is over now as the first Qualifier of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season four is about to start and Peshawar Zalmi have decided to bowl first against Quetta Gladiators.
“It is a crucial match and I think we are good at chasing the total. Our bowling is strong and we can just bring them down on a fewer total,” Sammy said after winning the toss.
The two-time runner-up of PSL Quetta Gladiators’ captain Sarfraz Ahmed is confident to make their way to the final.
“We would also have bowled first as it is a good batting surface. We need to post a good total on the scoreboard to help our bowlers defend it later,” said Sarfraz.
The winner of this contest will qualify for the final of the fourth episode of the PSL while the loser of this match will play the winning team of the first eliminator.
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