Quetta upstages arch-rivals Peshawar in HBL PSL
Dubai 15, February:
Twice runners-up Quetta Gladiators won the battle of arch-rivals with a convincing six-wicket win in their opening game against Peshawar Zalmi to get a kick start to their campaign for the elusive title in Dubai on Friday.
Sarfraz Ahmed-led Quetta restricted Peshawar to 155-4 in their 20 overs after sending them into bat on a day when Karachi Kings also won their first match against Multan Sultans by seven runs in a double header.
Kamran Akmal and veteran Misbah-ul-Haq hit 49 each as Peshawar only managed a late charge, scoring 54 runs in the last five overs.
Former Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal then smashed 50-ball 75 not out with three sixes and seven fours to steer Quetta Gladiators to a comfortable chase in the 19.4 overs, for the fifth win over rivals in eleven matches. Peshawar have also won five head-to-head matches with one no result in three editions of the HBL PSL.
Sarfraz Ahmed attributed the win to a team work.
“Overall it was a team performance,” said Sarfraz. “We bowled well to restrict them to 155-4 and then Umar played a brilliant knock, so I am very happy at that.”
Peshawar captain Darren Sammy said his team did not put a big total on the board.
“We didn’t get enough runs but did well to take the match to the last over,” said Sammy. “It was just the first game and we reached final both times after losing the first game, so we need to lift ourselves in the next game.”
Umar led Quetta’s recovery after they were off to a disastrous start, losing another former Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad leg before to Hasan Ali on the first ball of their innings.
Shane Watson hit two boundaries and a towering six in his 15-ball 19 and Rilee Rossouw made 14-ball 19 with three boundaries but both wasted good starts to leave the repair work to Umar.
Umar smashed a boundary and a six each off pacers Sameen Gul and Umaid Asif to show his intentions. He added 62 for the fourth wicket with skipper Sarfraz who made 29-ball 37 with a six and three boundaries.
Paceman Wahab Riaz dismissed Sarfraz to become the first bowler to complete 50 wickets in HBL PSL history. The milestone came in his 33rd match, as he finished with 2-18.
Umar smashed Kieron Pollard for a towering six towards long-on to bring up the victory.
Umar’s elder brother Kamran did the same for his team Peshawar. Kamran was the helm of a repair work after a faltering Peshawar start, losing West Indian Andre Fletcher in the third over of the innings for just one. Kamran added 64 for the second wicket with another Pakistan discard Sohaib Maqsood who made 29-ball 26 with two sixes and a boundary.
Kamran holed out to left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz who was the pick of Quetta bowlers with 2-25 in his four overs.
It was left to Misbah and Liam Dawson (21 off 14 balls with a six and a four) as they added 52 runs in the slog overs. Misbah hit two sixes and four boundaries during his 32-ball innings.
Earlier, Karachi Kings rode on a new HBL PSL record of 157 between Liam Livingstone (82) and Babar Azam (77) to beat Multan Sultans by seven runs in a last over finish.
On day three of the HBL PSL title holders Islamabad United — who won their first match by five wickets against Lahore Qalandars on Thursday — face Multan while Karachi kings square off with Lahore in a battle of two big cities in Dubai on Saturday.