Captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s 45-run knock and his 79-run fifth-wicket stand with Rilee Rossouw helped Quetta Gladiators chase down the 158-run target set by Peshawar Zalmi in the 23rd match of the Pakistan Super League 2018 in Dubai.
After Quetta Gladiators won the toss and opted to field first, Zalmi sent out a new opening pair in the form of Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal, with the former promoted up the order.
A few balls into the opening over their partnership was broken, with left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz bowling out Akmal for a duck.
The runs proved hard to come by in the opening few overs until Dwayne Smith hit two successive sixes in the 5th over, at the end of which, Zalmi were 33-1.
At the end of the 12th over, Zalmi were 90-3 with Rikki Wessels and Khushdil Shah at the crease.
The next two overs saw two more wickets fell as Zalmi were 101-5 at the end of the 15th over. Captain Darren Sammy and Wessels, however, soldiered on, picking their sports and repairing the damage some lackluster overs and dismissals had caused to their innings.
Sammy, in particular, was excellent, entertaining the crowd with a few of his trademark strokes.
The pair did enough to help Zalmi put together 157 runs on the board for the loss of 5 wickets.
The cautious Asad Shafiq and the adventurous Watson opened the innings for the Gladiators.
Shafiq’s struggle for runs continued as he was sent packing in the fifth over by Hasan Ali, meaning the perennially dangerous Kevin Pietersen arrived in the middle.
Just when it looked that a collapse was on the cards, Rilee Rossouw and captain Sarfraz Ahmed stabilised the ship.
The duo played astute cricket for the next 5 overs, mixing a boundary here and there with singles and doubles.
By the end of the 15th over, the Gladiators were 117-4 and needed 41 runs from 30 balls to deposit two more points into their PSL account.
The Zalmi bowlers toiled and toiled but the partnership of Rossouw and Sarfraz was not to be broken. In the end, the pair’s 79-run stand was enough to see their side over the line. Sarfraz’s 45-run knock was the highlight of Quetta’s innings; Rossouw contributed 30 runs to the cause.
Sarfraz was named the man of the match.
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