PSL: Quetta Gladiators through to final after 1-run win over Peshawar Zalmi
Quetta Gladiators defeated Peshawar Zalmi by 1 run in a nail-biting affair which came down to the last ball in the 1st qualifying final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Dubai International Stadium. With the win, Ahmed Shehzad led-Gladiators are through to the final of the PSL and Zalmi will have one more go as they’ll take on the winner of 2nd qualifying final on Sunday.
After winning the toss, Peshawar Zalmi's captain Shahid Afridi decided to field first. His decision was very well backed by his bowlers as both the Gladiators' openers - Bismillah Khan and Ahmed Shehzad - returned to dugout in first four overs itself.
Kevin Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara started to rebuilding process in Gladiators camp soon after the two early wickets. Both added 79 runs together before Sangakkara was dismissed by Darren Sammy.
The English cricketer completed his yet another T20 fifty before giving away his wicket to Shaun Tait by miscuing a full delivery. He made 53 off 38 balls and remained the top-scorer in Gladiators' batting line-up which bundled out for 133 runs in 19.3 overs.
It was always going to be a difficult target to chase with Dubai pitch showing no mercy on the batsmen. Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal started the proceedings for the Zalmi team.
Both the openers started off with a boundary, they were looking good with 29 runs on the board with no loss. But poor shot selection with equally poor footwork by Akmal off Anwar Ali's delivery brought Gladiators back in the game.
Mohammad Nawaz from the other end struck back to back to remove Hafeez and Brad Hodge. He also got the danger man Sammy, who almost took his team home in the end with his cracking 29-ball 38 runs innings.
The match went to the final over where Zalmi needed 8 off 6 balls. Sammy fuelled a new life into Zalmi's chase before getting out. Aizaz Cheema had the ball and he started off with dot delivery.
Zalmi's Wahab Riaz hit the next ball for a cow corner's boundary. He took single off the third ball and Hasan Ali was on strike with 3 runs needed off 3 balls.
Ali top edged Cheema's short delivery and was caught and bowled. Riaz was back on strike as the batsmen rotated while the ball was in the air.
Cheema bowled another short delivery, this time, offside off and Riaz trying to hit over point fielder failed and gave away an easy catch Ahmed Shehzad. Cheema was on a hat-trick now and Zalmi still needed 3 off the last delivery with the new batsman, Mohammad Asghar at the crease.
The bowler bowled third consecutive short delivery, Asghar trying to pull, failed and could collect only one run. Cheema this way won the thriller for the Gladiators team in the end.
Quetta Gladiators 133 all out (19.3/20 overs)
Peshawar Zalmi 132/9 (20.0/20 overs)
Quetta Gladiators won by 3 wickets
MOM: Mohammad Nawaz for 3 for 27