The Quetta Gladiators have beaten the Lahore Qalandars by seven wickets. Here is the full scorecard and commentary.
A brilliant 4th wicket partnership between Rillee Rossouw and Sarfaraz Ahmed worth 130 runs was the 2nd highest in HBL PSL history. The pair found themselves together with the Gladiators in a sensitive spot of 30 for 3 in the 5th over. If any youngsters wanted to learn how to bat to win a match in any form of the game, this partnership was the model performance. They combined power hitting with composure as well as quick running between the wickets. They slowly took the game in their firsts and then never let go.
Against the Zalmi, Mohammed Amir was the pick of the bowlers but this time it was his opening partner, Sohail Khan, who bagged 3 early wickets to get the game into the hand of the Kings. He bowled a consistent length on off stump while also swinging the ball away from the right-handers. He sent Kevin Pieterson, Ahmed Shahzad and Asad Shafiq in the space of 4 balls and made it look like the Kings might just open their accounts in the tournament but it was not to be.
Earlier in the day, the Kings had started off with a slow run-rate as Chris Gayle once again failed to get a good start as he got out for a timid 11 and then Captain Kumar Sangakarra was caught for at extra cover for 25. After all that drama, the Kings were 87 for 3 at the end of the 14th over. The only reason that the Kings got to 159 was because of the poor death bowling from the Gladiators except Tymal Mills who got 2 wickets to slow down the run-rate just a bit.
The 4th wicket partnership was not deadly until a self-posed threat from the Kings took the game away from them. On the last ball of the 9th over, the Kings were penalised with a no-ball because they did not have enough fielders in the ring. This punished them more than just that no-ball as Rossouw smashed the free hit over midwicket for 6 and the decent was changed in one ball as it went for 19 runs. From then the required run rate came down to 8 or below and then it was a stroll in the park for the Gladiators.
Rossouw who was the anchor that kept the Gladiators at sea in a sloppy start against the Qalandars was doing the same here with the Kings. 40 runs came off his first 21 balls before he slowed down as Sarfaraz found his timing. The pair’s running between the wicket needs another honourable mention. They both placed pressure on the Kings’ fielders and converted many singles into twos. These two were in so much control that even when no runs were being scored, it did not look like a wicket was about to fall.
Although the Gladiators won the match they looked a bit tied down in the death overs of the Kings’ innings between 14 and 19 overs. From 87 in 14 overs, the Kings smashed 64 runs in the next 5 overs to get to 159 at the end of their innings. However, there was one bowler who cannot be defined by the whole team letting the captain down and that is Tymal Mills. Unlike the other bowlers (who bowled a bizarre line and length), Mills used his variations and bowled a consistent line and length to pick up 2 wickets.
At one point it looked like the Men in Blue would get to over 170 but the amazing work with the ball by Mills stopped them. Mills once again showed why he is a T20 specialist bowler. Mills finished with 2 for 21 in fours overs with an economy of just over 5. This brilliant bowling performance contained the final over of the Kings’ innings that only went for 8 and Mills made sure that the total didn’t go over the top.
One impressive thing about the Gladiators is that they have won 2 matches without their icon player, KP (Kevin Pieterson), performing. Many other teams would have failed to get a good start when such an instrumental player goes back but they kept moving forward.
Now the Gladiators sit at the top of the table with 4 points with a 100% win percentage. The Kings’ sit at the bottom as they are the only team that have lost all their matches. Overall in both HBL PSL tournaments, the Kings’ havelost 9 out of their 11 matches with their only win coming vs the Qalandars.
The Cornered Tiger.