Quetta Gladiators on Monday reclaimed the top spot on Pakistan Super League 2019 points table with a crushing eight-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi in Abu Dhabi.
The two teams headed into the top-of-the-table encounter level on points but with Zalmi at the summit due to their superior run rate. However, the Gladiators boosted their tally by another two points today, relegating Zalmi to the second spot en route.
After the Gladiators won the toss and invited Zalmi to bat first, Kamran Akmal's return to form helped his side set a 166-run target.
Akmal and Andre Fletcher provided their side a flying start which was eventually reduced to just solid, owing to the West Indian's overly cautious approach.
While Fletcher (26 off 28) laboured for runs, Akmal freed up his arms and scored his first half century of the tournament.
The knock was a welcome one for the out-of-form veteran, who had been in supreme form in PSL 2018 but found runs extremely hard to come by during the ongoing edition of the tournament.
Akmal (72 off 50) must have been eyeing another PSL ton when he was bowled out by the young pacer Mohammad Hasnain in the 17th over.
Kieron Pollard's trademark slogging towards the end helped Zalmi finish with 165-4. The towering Windian all-rounder contributed 44 runs off just 21 balls.
The pick of Zalmi bowlers were spin duo of Mohammad Nawaz and Fawad Ahmed, both of who picked up a wicket each in their allotted four overs and gave away just 24 and 25 runs respectively.
Nawaz's removal of Fletcher deserves a second look.
The run chase
The Gladiators suffered an early loss in their run chase, losing opener Ahsan Ali in just the second over when there were just 8 runs on the board.
However, Australian veteran Shane Watson and one-down batter Ahmed Shehzad made sure that that setback did not derail the chase.
Watson in particular was in one of his trademark moods, smashing almost everything hurled at him with ferocious venom, and amassing 91 runs.
By the time Shehzad (50 off 45) departed in the 16th over, the match as a contest was largely over as the Gladiators only needed 25 runs off 24 deliveries with eight wickets in hand.
The Gladiators completed the 12th straight run chase of PSL 2019 with eight wickets and 14 balls to spare.