Last-ball sees Zalmi knock out Gladiators

Sports Reporter


Anwar Ali’s plundering of 22 runs in the final over went in vain as Quetta Gladiators fell just one run short of their target in the Pakistan Super League 2018 Eliminator, losing to Peshawar Zalmi at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore and going out of the tournament.
In yet another final-over drama, the all-rounder was asked to come up with 24 runs in the final over of the run chase. He hit four boundaries, including three 6s, but his attempt for a one last maximum on the final ball saw him fell agonisingly short of completing a Carlos Brathwaite-esque sequence.
The Gladiators run chase had a nightmare start as they lost the out-of-form Asad Shafiq on the opening ball of their innings.
Kohler-Cadmore, Shafiq’s opening partner, was also sent packing in the third over, with the excellent Hasan Ali picking his second wicket.
With two wickets gone so early, the situation warranted a calm and dependable batter. In came captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who promoted himself up the order. His presence in the middle alongside Nawaz meant that the leakage of wickets stopped but not at the cost of runs. At the end of 6 overs, the Gladiators were 49-2 and in need of 109 more runs from 14 overs — a very achievable task.
The left-right duo handled the Zalmi bowlers very well for the next four overs, taking their side to 79-2 after 9 overs. After their rocky start, Quetta were well and truly back in the game.
But Sameen Gul’s 10th over change the scenario completely and the Gladiators were back under the cos. The 19-year-old medium-pacer had both Sarfraz and Nawaz holed out on back-to-back balls as Quetta were pegged back. Both the batters departed having contributed 35 runs each to their team’s cause.
Halfway through their innings, Quetta were 80-4, with the pairing of Mahmudullah and Rilee Rossouw at the crease. The loss of two set batsmen — one of them being the captain — would see some teams fold right there and then, but not the plucky Gladiators.
Mahmudullah and Rossouw carried on, with the former bringing up the team’s 100 with a pretty looking punch through the cover.
After 15 overs, the Gladiators were 112-4 and 46 adrift of ending Peshawar Zalmi’s PSL 2018 campaign. With a 16-ball difference, the need was for the duo to accelerate a little — something Mahmudullah tried in the 16th, failed and had his wicket shattered by Umaid Asif.
Asif struck again in the same over, this time the dangerous Rossouw caught as the balance shifted back in Zalmi’s favour.
It was up to Anwar Ali and Perera to get their team over the line. They needed 30 runs off the final three overs but Hasan Ali bowled an excellent 17th, conceding just 2 runs to solidy his team’s status as the favourites in the contest.
Earlier, the Gladiators won the toss and decided to field first on a matchday that had seen plenty of rain and more was expected.
The equation was simple for both the teams: lose and go home or win and earn a shot at the PSL 2018 final opposite Karachi Kings.
The Gladiators were missing key trio of Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen and Jason Roy — all of who opted against visiting Pakistan. In their absence, the two-time finalists drafted Thisara Perera, Mahmudullah and Tom Kohler-Cadmore into their line-ups. While their opponents were clearly weakened, Peshawar Zalmi were bolstered even more, thanks to Tamim Iqbal — who had gone for national duty halfway through the tournament —returning to their ranks.

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