Yesterday, the Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi by 1 run. Here is the ball-by-ball analysis and scorecard of the match.
The first play off of the inaugural HBL PSL finished in blink and you’ll miss it fashion as a last ball thriller enlightened the sold out crowd at Dubai International Stadium. The victory for the Gladiators meant that they jumped to the final on Tuesday, while Zalmi will have a chance to make amends for their close defeat in the third and last qualifier, against either Karachi Kings or Islamabad United.
After a roller coaster ride of 39 overs in the match, it came down to Zalmi needing 8 of 6 balls. Wahab Riaz batting and Aizaz Cheema bowling, the game was on and some Asia Cup deja vu was felt. Darren Sammy had just got out as his innings put Zalmi back on track.
The first ball of the over was a dot ball but in the second ball Wahab emerged from the ground, hitting a four to tilt the contest in the favour of the Gladiators. Then he proceeded to take a single. 3 of 3 and the bus of victory could go anywhere. The next 2 balls were wickets as Hasan Ali was bowled and Wahab Riaz caught as he skied the ball to point where Ahmed Shehzad took the catch. The new man was Mohammed Asghar and Cheema was on a hatrick. Another bowling came so close to touching the 3 wicket mark as Cheema could not get that 3rd wicket. More importantly Asghar was unable to get the 3 and nail-biting came to an end and once again ‘Smoking Jo’ jumping out his seat and celebrating with his boys.
The only reason the game got so close was because of a 38 run blasting innings from Darren Sammy which brought back Zalmi from a flop at the 15th over of 84 for 6. The Gladiators had only a handful runs to defend (133) but with 3 wicket hauls from Grant Elliot (3 for 19) and Mohammed Nawaz (3 for 27) and Man of the Match went to Nawaz. Nawaz accounted for the key scalps of Brad Hodge, Mohammad Hafeez and Sammy, before Cheema’s heroics at the end completed the memorable victory.
The Gladiators were not always in the driving seat as they had a horror of a start when they lost their opener Bismillah Khan in the 1st over then Ahmed Shehzad in the 3rd. However, Kumar Sangakarra and Kevin Pieterson held a partnership of 79 to put the Gladiators on the path back to al least 150 but this was not meant to happen. Wahab Riaz was the pick of the bowlers for the Zalmi, picking up 3 for 17 in 4 overs. Pietersen blasted 53 off 38 balls with five fours and two sixes, while Nawaz also pitched in with what eventually proved to be a very handy 20 runs.
The Cornered Tiger