Pakistan Super League has reached its penultimate stage as first qualifier kicked off between two top tier teams Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators to decide the first finalist in the tournament.
Peshawar Zalmi Skipper Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to field first in order to restrict the Gladiators to a modest total. Quetta Gladiators got off to a bad start as both openers Bismillah Khan and Ahmed Shehzad fell early to leave the team at 11 runs for 2 wickets. The experienced duo of the team Kevin Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara came at a time when Gladiators needed to revive their innings and post a decent total.
The partnership flourished as both premier batsmen showed their class in pressure game against Zalmi. Darren Sammy brought Peshawar back into the game with the wicket of Sangakarra and Afridi chipped in with scalp of keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed.Kevin Pietersen again was man for the big occasion as he struck a crucial 53 runs before being undone by the pace of Shaun Tait.
Mohammad Nawaz played a nice cameo at the end but the fall of regular wickets at the other end curtailed Gladiator’s chances of posting a par total on the pitch.
Quetta Gladiators scored 133 runs after 20 overs leaving Peshawar Zalmi looking to chase it down to book their place in final in the Inaugural league.
In reply, Peshawar Zalmi got off to bad start as medium pacer Anwar Ali bowled Kamran Akmal to hand the early impetus towards Gladiators.
Mohammad Nawaz, once again was the player for Gladiators who rose to the occasion and outshines others with the splendid display of left arm spin bowling.He picked up dangerous players like Hafeez and Hodge early to put pressure on Peshawar Zalmi.
Darren Sammy performed exceptionally well with bat as the rest of the batting wilted under pressure. Afridi once again failed to deliver despite crowd rooting for him to clinch the match. The turning point was when Sammy was dismissed by Mohammad Nawaz at long on to turn the tide for his team once again.
The match was certainly shaping up to be a see-saw as Zalmi’s needing just 8 runs off the last over with Wahab Riaz at the crease.Wahab Riaz struck a four in the last over but due to some erratic batting Peshawar Zalmi lost the plot and the game as Gladiators held on to a close win by one run.