SHARJAH: The Quetta Gladiators’ fairytale run in the HBL Pakistan Super League continued on Wednesday with another rollercoaster performance as they thumped Multan Sultans by eight wickets in the opening game of the second leg at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Having cruised to easy wins in the first leg against Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United, the two sides which contested the final in Karachi last year, Gladiators were just too powerful for the Sultans. The latter managed 160-9 after Sarfraz Ahmed made a hat-trick of winning the toss and opting for the chase.
Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw both crossed 60s against a depleted Sultans bowling, which was crippled by a hamstring injury to emerging seamer Ali Shafiq early in the innings before the Gladiators romped home to a third successive win.
Watson won his second straight Man of the Match award after striking 11 boundaries in a commanding 40-ball innings of 61. South African Rossouw was equally pugnacious, bludgeoning 10 fours and one six on his way to an undefeated 65 from 45 balls. The return of mentor Sir Vivian Richards to the Gladiators camp coincided with the induction of Ahsan Ali for his PSL in place of Ahmed Shehzad in the solitary change to the playing XI from the last match.
Shan Masood st Sarfraz b Fawad 18
J.M. Vince lbw b Nawaz 28
L.J. Evans run out 10
Shoaib Malik c Ahsan b Sohail 53
D.T. Christian c Nawaz b Irfan Jr 18
A.D. Russell c Rossouw b Mudassar 18
Shahid Afridi lbw b Irfan Jr 0
Shakeel Ansar not out 0
Nauman Ali c Irfan Jr b Mudassar 2
Ali Shafiq run out 0
EXTRAS: (lb-5, w-6, nb-2) 13
TOTAL: (for nine wkts, 20 overs) 160
FALL OF WKTS: 1-34, 2-54, 3-64, 4-137, 5-142, 6-144, 7-158, 8-160, 9-160.
DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Irfan.
BOWLING: Sohail Tanvir 4-0-29-1 (1w); Mohammad Nawaz 4-0-28-1; Mohammad Irfan Jr 4-0-32-2 (1nb, 1w); Fawad Ahmed 4-0-22-1; Ghulam Mudassar 4-0-44-2 (1nb, 1w).
S.R. Watson c sub b Afridi 61
Ahsan Ali c and b Irfan 9
R.R. Rossouw not out 67
Umar Akmal not out 17
EXTRAS: (LB-5, W-2) 7
TOTAL: (for two wkts, 18.3 overs) 161
FALL OF WKTS: 1-39, 2-95.
DID NOT BAT: Sarfraz Ahmed, D.R. Smith, Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan Jr, Ghulam Mudassar, Fawad Ahmed.
BOWLING: Ali Shafiq 1.4-0-9-0; Nauman Ali 4-0-34-0; Christian 1.5-0-18-0; Mohammad Irfan 4-0-26-1 (1w); Russell 3-0-33-0 (1w); Shahid Afridi 4-0-36-1.
RESULT: Quetta Gladiators won by eight wickets.
UMPIRES: Asif Yaqoob (Pakistan) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan).
TV UMPIRE: Rashid Riaz (Pakistan).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Shane Watson.
Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2019