LAHORE: Head coach of Quetta Gladiators Moin Khan, while expressing his disappointment over his team’s ouster from the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL), said he was satisfied with the overall performance but expressed reservation over the below par umpiring standards in the event.

Addressing a media conference after the Gladiators’ narrow one-run defeat against Peshawar Zalmi at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday, Moin said: “There is disappointment over the way we lost but our overall performance was good and had the non-striker (Mir Hamza) showed wisdom in taking the second run on the last ball, we could have at least played the Super Over,” observed Moin who looked a little bit dejected after the defeat in the eliminator.

“Our players, no doubt, played reckless shots to lose wickets unnecessarily. The loss of our well set pair of captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Muhammad Nawaz in one over was the turning point of the match,” said Moin. “Otherwise, in the 9th over (when the two were batting) the match had clearly gone our way.”

The former Pakistan skipper also lamented that in the presence of reputed umpire like Aleem Dar, four alternative fielders were taken by Zalmi which went unnoticed in the crucial game.

“The overall standard of umpiring has been average in this edition of the PSL,” argued Moin. “That must be improved if the PCB wants to make PSL an international brand.”He lauded the fantastic hitting by all-rounder Anwar Ali in the final over when he plundered 23 to nearly pull off victory for Quetta.

Moin said though overall performance of his team was good, he added the trio of Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin and Ramiz Raja had disappointed with their performances.

He further said the PCB should take the responsibility of binding all the foreign players to remain available for all the matches of the PSL, whether the matches are in Pakistan or in the UAE.

Moin said Shane Watson, the top performer for the Gladiators, was ready to come to Pakistan but later he changed his mind due to family pressure and that came as a setback for his team. “Kevin Pietersen however had already expressed his non-availability for the Pakistan’s leg,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zalmi’s fast bowler Wahab Riaz said credit should be given to Anwar Ali for his outstanding batting in the last over, which could have taken the match away from his team. “Under such tremendous pressure, Anwar blasted sixes brilliantly and nearly saw Gladiators through. The Quetta side played very well considering that their top performing foreigner players were not available,” said Wahab.

Defending the decision of his captain Darren Sammy of giving the last over to spinner Liam Dawson, Wahab said his team had estimated that if the Gladiators would have 18 runs to score in the last over that will be difficult for them. “Hasan Ali and I bowled our overs first and that was the plan. Hasan in his last over was superb and forced the Gladiators to go for 25 runs which was nnearly impossible.

However, Anwar turned the scene,” said Wahab.Wahab also hailed the standard of the pitch, which was quite sporting. “The pitch helped both the bowlers and the batsmen, who bowled at length and who played their strokes on merit,” he said.

“Overall, 313 runs were scored and 19 wickets fell in the match which is proof that the pitch was sporting,” he said. Wahab disclosed that skipper Darren Sammy was not fully fit and yet he was leading the team well and his role was appreciated by one and all.”Zalmi have developed a good combination, despite the fact that our team has been facing fitness problems,” he concluded.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2018