KARACHI: Jake Weatherald, unquestionably, was the solitary Quetta Gladiators player to earn plaudits for a solid performance on his HBL Pakistan Super League debut while his side suffered probably the most humiliating defeat in the six-year history of the franchise-based Twenty20 league.

Making their first appearance in the second leg of the sixth edition at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday night, the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Quetta were butchered by the explosive bat of Colin Munro as the New Zealander bludgeoned 90 from just 36 balls while powering Islamabad United to a remarkable 10-wicket victory — a feat that featured the highest powerplay in PSL history as Munro and Usman Khawaja plundered 97 runs — with no less than 10 overs to spare.

Quetta, who were invited to bat by Shadab Khan, never came to terms with the pitch which was tricky upfront as it was receptive to seam bowling with the bounce inconsistent as Faf du Plessis found out. The ex-South Africa captain was neither forward nor back when the impressive young seamer Mohammad Wasim comprehensively cleaned him up.

It was the resilience of the unheralded Weatherald that eventually saw Quetta post 133 all out with the Australian left-hander playing a steady hand to emerge top scorer with 43 when his 35-ball stay came via a ramp shot against left-arm pacer Akif Javed who knocked back the 26-year old’s leg stump.

JAKE Weatherald pulls during his knock of 43 in Quetta Gladiators’ dismal batting effort.—PCB
JAKE Weatherald pulls during his knock of 43 in Quetta Gladiators’ dismal batting effort.—PCB

“Yeah, it was a very difficult night for Quetta while nothing went right,” Weatherald, who is yet to be capped at the international level, admitted afterwards. “One must say that probably had the worst of the conditions to begin with since dew came in later in the night to make batting easier [for the Islamabad batters] as we saw. But taking nothing away, I thought they [Munro and Khawaja] batted beautifully and Colin, no doubt was amazing.

“From a personal point of view, I made a few runs but should have kicked on to match what Colin did tonight. Initially, I was at home chilling out in the off-season when spending time with my young family. It’s really nice and exciting to be playing [in the] PSL. It’s is cool that I’ve opportunity to come over here to play some cricket during my off-season, something I really like to appreciate and cash in because you don’t that chance [to play PSL] because of the domestic season back home [in Australia].

“Thankfully, the Gladiators picked me up. This is different to the Big Bash League but one thing for sure; playing in the PSL is a new experience. However, I’m pretty disappointed that we didn’t do well as a group. Hopefully, the next time will be better for the Gladiators …”

Weatherald, who plays for Adelaide Strikers in the BBL, offered a piece of advice for the Gladiators’ supporters: “I think what happened in this game is now in the past and the more composed we stay, there is chance for a much better show from our team, and hopefully try to play good cricket to make the playoffs, if we can.”

Current standings

(Tabulated under, played, won, lost, tied, no-result, points, net run-rate):

Lahore Qalandars 6 5 1 0 0 10 +1.150

Islamabad United 6 4 2 0 0 8 +0.896

Karachi Kings 6 3 3 0 0 6 +0.463

Peshawar Zalmi 6 3 3 0 0 6 +0.139

Multan Sultans 6 2 4 0 0 4 -0.099

Quetta Gladiators 6 1 5 0 0 2 -1.662

*updated after Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators match on Friday night.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021

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