KARACHI: Quetta Gladiators opener Martin Guptill pulls during his scintillating knock of 117 in the HBL Pakistan Super League match against Karachi Kings at the National Stadium on Saturday.—AFP
KARACHI: Quetta Gladiators opener Martin Guptill pulls during his scintillating knock of 117 in the HBL Pakistan Super League match against Karachi Kings at the National Stadium on Saturday.—AFP

KARACHI: Whenever the going got tough for Quetta Gladiators, their young pacers Mohammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah showed up.

After Quetta were powered to 168, thanks to a counter-attacking century by Martin Guptill, the duo cancelled the threat posed by Karachi Kings’ unrelenting veteran Shoaib Malik and the dew that fell over the National Stadium here on a misty Saturday night, to take the HBL Pakistan Super League match by six runs.

While Quetta bounced back from a forgettable defeat against Multan Sultans, it was the third consecutive loss for the Karachi outfit.

At the halfway stage, the equation was simple for the hosts, having recovered from a jittery start, the home side needed 10 an over to win with T20 heavyweights Malik and Matthew Wade at the crease.

What followed, was a show of some skillful bowling by Hasnain; the right-armer blinded Wade with his pace to rattle the left-hander’s stumps before bamboozling Karachi captain Imad Wasim with a bouncer.

That Imad was Karachi’s last wicket to fall, spoke volumes of how Naseem and Hasnain in kept Malik and Irfan Niazi at bay.

The two batters briefly threatened when Irfan launched Hasnain over long off for a big six before Malik punished a half-tracker by leg-spinner Qais Ahmed for a four past square leg.

Malik brought up his second 50 of the season with a six over spinner Mohammad Nawaz’s head before turning his spinner behind for a boundary in the 17th over, by the end of which Karachi were left needing 37 off the last three overs.

But Naseem conceded just six runs in the 18th before Hasnain kept the two batters restricted to just seven runs in the following over. Needing 24 off the final over all Kings fell short despite two fours by Malik (71 off 49) and a six by Irfan (37).

After opener James Vince (22) had kicked off Karachi’s chase with two exquisite boundaries off Naseem in the first over, Nawaz struck to dismiss Sharjeel Khan for a duck.

Vince kept going but saw another partner in Haider Ali get castled by Qais not long before losing his own stumps to Naseem’s stinging in-swinger.

The Gladiators had earlier recovered from a horrific start to their innings after being put into bat first, thanks to a blistering yet responsible hundred by opener Guptill.

The New Zealander plundered the Karachi bowlers for 12 fours and five sixes in his 67-ball knock for 117 runs.

Three of his boundaries and as many of his sixes came against medium pacer Andrew Tye’s penultimate over, which saw Guptill also bring up his maiden PSL ton.

Enabled by a 52-ball partnership of 69 runs between Iftikhar Ahmed and Guptill after having lost four wickets for 23 runs by the seventh over, Quetta were at 126-5 by the end of the 18th and Iftikhar had departed just three overs ago after making a crucial contribution of 32 off 27.

That is when Guptil upped the ante and helped Quetta post a fighting total after they were put under immense pressure by Imad, who had taken three quick wickets in his first spell.

The left-arm spinner struck as early as on the second delivery of the match to trap Jason Roy lbw for a duck as the opener attempted to play an arm ball across the line.

Two balls later, Imad forced a stumping to dismiss Abdul Wahid Bangalzai before finishing the opening over of the match as a maiden.

Quetta’s first runs came off a no ball by Aamer Yamin before the medium pacer conceded two boundaries to Guptill. Imad, however, came back in the third to clean up Umar.

Sarfraz became Karachi’s fourth and Aamer’s first victim as the right-hander found Irfan at short midwicket.

The incoming Iftikhar hit Quetta’s first boundary in nearly five overs, as he got down on one knee to dispatch Aamer through the covers. Guptill then punished a half-tracker and a wayward delivery by leg-spinner Imran Tahir for two more fours with the scoreboard reading 51-4 by the end of the 10th over.

Iftikhar’s attempt to commence a late onslaught fizzled out when he was caught off Amir at square leg by Imran.

Guptill brought up his half-century off a double off the South African in the next over before launching him for Quetta’s first six over long off. Karachi missed a chance to hurt Quetta further when Sharjeel dropped Guptill at point off Tye while the opener was playing at 61.

It proved very costly for the Kings with Guptill bludgeoning Tye in the penultimate over to tilt the game in his side’s favour. Tye was slotted all along the floor on the first ball and then Aamer Yamin’s sloppy fielding at deep square ensured it was a four.

Guptill launched the next ball for a huge six over long thrashing Tye past midwicket for another and before hitting two more huge sixes — one over cow corner to bring up his 100 in 61 balls and the other over the bowler’s head — and wrapped the over up with a boundary through point as Quetta accelerated to a total that proved enough.

Scoreboard

QUETTA GLADIATORS:

Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Jason Roy lbw b Imad 0 2 0 0 0.00

Martin Guptill c Irfan b Aamer 117 67 12 5 174.62

Abdul Wahid Bangalzai st Wade b Imad 0 3 0 0 0.00

Umar Akmal b Imad 4 4 1 0 100.00

Sarfraz Ahmed c Irfan b Aamer 5 11 0 0 45.45

Iftikhar Ahmed c Tahir b Amir 32 27 3 0 118.51

Mohammad Nawaz c Irfan b Aamer 3 6 0 0 50.00

Odean Smith not out 1 2 0 0 50.00

EXTRAS (B-1, LB-1, NB-2, W-2) 6

TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 168

DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Qais Ahmad.

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0 (Roy), 2-0 (Wahid), 3-13 (Akmal), 4-23 (Sarfraz), 5-92 (Iftikhar), 6-156 (Nawaz), 7-168 (Guptill)

BOWLING: Imad 4-1-16-3, Aamer 4-0-37-3 (1w, 2nb), Amir 4-0-23-1 (1w), Tahir 4-0-35-0, Tye 4-0-55-0.

KARACHI KINGS:

Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Sharjeel Khan c Sarfraz b Nawaz 0 5 0 0 0.00

James Vince b Naseem 22 14 5 0 157.14

Haider Ali b Qais 0 4 0 0 0.00

Shoaib Malik not out 71 49 8 1 144.89

Matthew Wade b Hasnain 15 19 2 0 78.94

Imad Wasim c Sarfraz b Hasnain 5 3 1 0 166.66

Irfan Khan Niazi not out 37 26 1 3 142.30 EXTRAS (B-4, LB-1, W-7) 12

TOTAL (for five wkts, 20 overs) 162

DID NOT BAT: Andrew Tye, Mohammad Amir, Imran Tahir, Aamer Yamin.

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-10 (Sharjeel), 2-25 (Haider), 3-35 (Vince), 4-70 (Wade), 5-76 (Imad),

BOWLING: Naseem 4-0-29-1 (1w), Nawaz 4-0-34-1 (2w), Qais 4-0-29-1 (3w), Hasnain 4-0-29-2 (1w), Smith 4-0-36-0

RESULT: Quetta Gladiators won by six runs.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2023

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