KARACHI: Shane Watson’s half-century and a brilliant last over helped Quetta Gladiators become the first team to seal a playoff spot this season.
Shane Watson’s 71 runs off 43 balls innings lifted Quetta Gladiators to 186 in the qualifier against Peshawar Zalmi at the Pakistan Super League’s qualifier in National Stadium, Karachi.
Watson neutralised the Gladiators’ early breakthrough with his fiery half-century.
Zalmi’s Tymal Mills with a thundering yorker bowled opener Ahmad Shehzad on the very first ball of his over – quashing the batsman’s aspirations of a steady comeback in the national team.
But the Watson-Ahsan Ali partnership of 111 runs turned the table round for the Gladiators as the Zalmi bowling attack failed to capitalise despite repeated attempts.
But later fast bowler Wahab Riaz halted the Australian opener’s innings with a bowled. The batsman departed after scoring 71 off 43 with five boundaries and six sixes.
Sameen Gul and Pollard extended the momentum provided by Riaz as they picked timely wickets of Rossouw and Ahsan Ali respectively.
Umar Akmal played 22 runs innings and Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed scored 12.
Wahab Riaz picked two wickets, while Hasan Ali, Tymal Mills, Sameen Gul and Pollard picked one each.
Former Pakistan skipper Misbah ul Haq is included in Zalmi’s playing-11 today while Ahsan Ali has made a comeback for the Gladiators in place of Anwar Ali.
The clash that is guaranteed to test nerves. The winning team is going straight into the final of the tournament on Sunday, March 17.
But it won’t be all over for the losing side – there will be another chance to make it to the final when the loser of today’s Qualifier plays against the winner of tomorrow’s Eliminator 1 on Friday.
But Quetta vs Peshawar matches are always more than just winning or losing. It’s a battle of strengths, weaknesses and egos. The two nemesis have faced off multiples times in the playoffs, and each match has been nothing less than a thriller. Here’s a quick look:
PSL 2016 Qualifier
Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi by one run to reach the final, where Islamabad United beat Sarfraz Ahmed XI to lift the inaugural trophy.
PSL 2017 Qualifier and Final
Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi by one run (again!) to secure a spot in the final. Peshawar Zalmi beat Karachi Kings in the second eliminator to reach the final, where they defeated their archrivals Quetta Gladiators by 24 runs to deny them yet another chance at the trophy. This was Quetta Gladiators’ second consecutive defeat in a PSL final.
PSL 2018 Eliminator
Last year again, the arch-rivals faced off in the do-or-die Eliminator 1 in Lahore, where Peshawar Zalmi again beat Quetta Gladiators by, you guessed it, one run! With the defeat, Quetta were eliminated from the tournament and Peshawar were beaten by Islamabad in the final.
Quetta and Peshawar will be raring to go in action against each other again today, and rest assured, it is all set to be another thriller.