RAWALPINDI: Peshawar Zalmi batsman Shoaib Malik is cleaned up by Quetta Gladiators pacer Mohammad Hasnain during their Pakistan Super League match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
RAWALPINDI: Peshawar Zalmi batsman Shoaib Malik is cleaned up by Quetta Gladiators pacer Mohammad Hasnain during their Pakistan Super League match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

RAWALPINDI: Peshawar Zalmi kept their playoff aspirations very much alive and kicking in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 with a resounding 30-run defeat of reigning champions Quetta Gladiators in a rain-shortened encounter at the Pindi Cricket Stadium here on Thursday night.

Quetta Gladiators were once again behind the eight-ball game when their chase for 171 fizzled out in a display akin to meek surrender, as they slumped to 140-7 after being 75-1 in the eighth over.

The losing side may have reason to be aggrieved since a no-ball call eventually cost Quetta Gladiators when 72 runs were required from 27 balls. At that point, the big-hitting Australian Ben Cutting was adjudged caught off Wahab Riaz — who was officially announced just hours before the start as the successor to long-serving captain Darren Sammy — but TV umpire Rashid Riaz took ages to declare that Wahab had sent down a legitimate delivery, whereas television replays provided inconclusive evidence of the entire drama, lasting three minutes, much to the chagrin of the Quetta dugout.

The start was delayed by 90 minutes after it took a lot of diligence on part of the hardworking groundstaff to get the arena in a playable state following the sporadic spells of rains since late Wednesday afternoon. As a result of curtailment in play, five overs were shred from each innings.

Despite the outfield being sodden and heavy, Peshawar Zalmi didn’t waste anything in terms of acceleration to their rate of scoring after Sarfraz — for the umpteenth time in captaincy tenure — decided the best way to seek victory was to chase the runs. A ploy which completely backfired for the second time in the space of three nights.

Shoaib Malik was the foundation for the second match running upon which Peshawar based their final total of 170-6 in the 15 stipulated overs. It meant the innings was confined to 90 legitimate deliveries per side, but in Peshawar Zalmi’s case there were as many as 28 dot balls. Quetta Gladiators were crippled somewhat when pace sensation Naseem Shah hobbled off with a possible recurrence of an ankle issue which had been troubling the 17-year-old for a while now.

Naseem delivered two testing overs and gave away just nine runs with nine balls going scoreless. His loss was a body blow because the runs flowed like a river just as the raindrops in recent times here.

Peshawar Zalmi played smart cricket from the onset. The Powerplay, which was understandably cut by an over to five, produced 41 runs – Quetta Gladiators, in fact, scored four more in their reply at the same stage – for the loss of two wickets before the next saw 58 runs added with the wicket of prodigiously talented Haider Ali.

Haider, the Pakistan Under-19 star, was yet again guilty of throwing away a decent start but perhaps the situation demanded him to take undue risks. Haider’s 24-ball 39 included four boundaries and a brace of sixes. The third-wicket partnership between the youngster and old guard Malik was worth 54 from 30 balls.

Malik followed his unbeaten 68 in the previous game against Karachi Kings by contributing a 27-ball 54, a lovely knock embedded with eight fours and one six.

Mohammad Hasnain, the tournament’s top wicket-taker extended his haul to 14 by recovering well from being bludgeoned for successive sixes by Kamran Akmal on the first two deliveries of the match to end up with 3-34 in three overs.

Current standings

(Tabulated under played, won, lost, tied, no-result, points, net run-run-rate):
Multan Sultans 5 4 1 0 0 8 +1.415
Islamabad United 7 3 3 0 1 7 +0.478
Peshawar Zalmi 7 3 3 0 1 7 -0.009
Karachi Kings 5 3 2 0 0 6 -0.196
Quetta Gladiators 7 3 4 0 0 6 -0.625
Lahore Qalandars 5 1 4 0 0 2 -0.899

Scoreboard

PESHAWAR ZALMI

Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Kamran Akmal c Roy b Hasnain 23 12 2 2 191.66
Imam-ul-Haq c Sarfraz b Sohail 7 7 1 0 100.00
Haider Ali c Watson b Hasnain 39 24 4 2 162.50
Shoaib Malik b Hasnain 54 27 8 1 200.00
L.S. Livingstone c Sohail b Hasnain 12 7 2 0 171.42
L. Gregory not out 19 8 0 2 237.50
L.A. Dawson c Roy b Cutting 0 1 0 0 0.00
Hasan Ali not out 9 5 0 1 180.00

EXTRAS (B-1, LB-2, W-3, NB-1) 7 - - - -
TOTAL (for six wkts, 15 overs) 170 - - - -
FALL OF WKTS: 1-9 (Imam, 1.4 ov), 2-39 (Kamran, 4.3 ov), 3-93 (Haider, 9.3 ov), 4-134 (Livingstone, 12.3 ov), 5-139 (Malik, 12.6 ov), 6-143 (Dawson, 13.3 ov).
DID NOT BAT: Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali.
BOWLING: Naseem Shah 2-0-6-0; Sohail Khan 3-0-38-1 (2w); Mills 3-0-33-0; Mohammad Hasnain 3-0-34-4; Mohammad Nawaz 2-0-26-0; Cutting 2-0-30-1 (1nb, 1w).

QUETTA GLADIATORS

Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
J.J. Roy b Yasir 45 26 5 2 173.07
S.R. Watson c Livingstone b Hasan 19 14 4 0 135.71
Ahmed Shehzad c Malik b Wahab 10 17 0 0 58.82
B.C.J. Cutting c Livingstone b Wahab 17 7 0 2 242.86
Mohammad Nawaz c Imam b Rahat 18 2 1 0 257.14
Azam Khan c Gregory b Rahat 0 1 0 0 0.00
Sarfraz Ahmed b Wahab 1 2 0 0 50.00
Sohail Khan not out 16 11 0 2 145.45
T.S. Mills not out 4 5 0 0 80.00

EXTRAS (LB-3, W-6) 9 - - - -
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 15 overs) 140 - - - -
FALL OF WKTS: 1-45 (Watson, 4.3 ov), 2-75 (Roy, 7.6 ov), 3-99 (Shehzad, 10.3 overs), 4-99 (Cutting, 10.4 ov), 5-103 (Azam, 11.1 ov), 6-117 (Nawaz, 11.6 ov), 7-119 (Sarfraz, 12.6 ov).
DID NOT BAT: Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain.
BOWLING: Wahab Riaz 3-0-21-3 (1w); Rahat Ali 3-0-34-2 (1w); Hasan Ali 3-0-15-1; Yasir Shah 3-0-28-1; Gregory 3-0-38-0

RESULT: Peshawar Zalmi won by 30 runs.
UMPIRES: R.E.J. Martinesz (Sri Lanka) and Tariq Rasheed (Pakistan).
TV UMPIRE: Rashid Riaz (Pakistan).
MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Mahanama (Sri Lanka).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Shoaib Malik (Peshawar Zalmi).

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2020