Quetta Gladiators qualified for the final of the 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL) by overcoming Peshawar Zalmi by a margin of 10 runs in the qualifier at National Stadium of Karachi on Wednesday.
Zalmi bowlers versus Gladiators’ batsmen
It was a show of strength by Peshawar Zalmi’s pace factory and Quetta Gladiators’ master hitters. Throughout PSL’s fourth edition, Zalmi’s bowling attack and Gladiators’ hard-hitting batting line-up have made quite a reputation for themselves. Today’s qualifier was nothing short of a contest for glory between the top two sides on the points table.
Gladiators’ opening batsman and star all-rounder Shane Watson took the Zalmi bowling attack head on and scored 71 off 43 balls hitting six sixes and five fours to help his side post a fighting total. The 37-year-old Australian national was featuring in his 298th T20 match and the experience spoke for itself.
Wahab Riaz’s death assault
Bowling at a speed of over 145 kph, Zalmi’s Wahab Riaz continued to show how sheer pace could be potent threat in any format of the game. In this tournament where slower deliveries and change of pace was the go-to option for most bowlers to contain runs, Wahab, on the other hand, trusted in his ability to bowl fast and dismantle any opposition. His figures of 2-26 against a formidable batting force was impressive.
Ahsan Ali shines in front of home crowd
Ahsan Ali, 25, may have grown up playing at the National Stadium in Karachi but the pressure to perform in front of a full-house can get overwhelming for many. However for Ahsan, this was not the case. He was out to bat merely a few minutes into the match and showed much grit and class in helping establish a 111-run stand for the second wicket with Watson. Though he fell for four runs short of completing his half-century, his innings comprising two sixes and four fours nonetheless fulfilled the task required of him.
Sammy-Pollard on fire
Zalmi captain Sammy and Pollard were on the verge of giving their side the most remarkable victory in this edition after making a 83-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Keeping in view that Zalmi were at one stage five down for 90 and required rate was nearing 15, Sammy and Pollard with their massive sixes and fours had almost taken Zalmi to the finals.
Last over drama
21 needed off six. Gladiators were out of options. Then stepped in Shane Watson. Calm and cool, Watson not only bowled out Pollard after getting hit for a six, his variations ensured Zalmi were not allowed to take the match to the last ball. Watson came in to bowl in a T20 match after a year’s gap. The last time he took the ball in his hands was in last year’s IPL for Chennai Super Kings. Quite a few things in the last five overs went against Gladiators but not the final over. Sarfraz Ahmed would be a happy man that his side has managed to reach another final of the PSL.