Debutant Saud, Roy dazzle against Zalmi as Gladiators make flying start

Published February 19, 2024
LAHORE: Quetta Gladiators opener Saud Shakeel plays a shot during the match against Peshawar Zalmi at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.—M. Arif/White Star
LAHORE: Quetta Gladiators opener Saud Shakeel plays a shot during the match against Peshawar Zalmi at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.—M. Arif/White Star

LAHORE: Quetta Gladiators stunned the favoured Peshawar Zalmi, securing a 16-run win in the second match of the HBL Pakistan Super League here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.

The match witnessed an electrifying display of batting prowess, primarily led by Quet­ta openers Jason Roy and Saud Shak­eel, who was also making his PSL debut.

Quetta set a challenging target of 207 runs, largely fueled by the explosive batting of Roy (75) and Saud (74), who orchestrated an impressive opening partnership of 157 runs.

Initially, Peshawar’s chase seemed promising, with skipper Babar Azam (68) and Saim Ayub (42) providing a solid foundation by amassing 91 runs in just 8.4 overs.

However, a crucial run-out and a subsequent dip in the run-rate derailed Zalmi’s momentum, restricting them to 190 for six in their allotted 20 overs.

In the tense final over, with Zalmi needing 25 runs for victory, Asif Ali and Dan Mousley faced the challenge from Quetta pacer Mohammad Wasim Jr. Despite expectations of big hits, Asif could only manage a single before Mousley was caught by Akeal Hosein. Aamer Jamal briefly contributed with a boundary, but Zalmi fell short of the target, leaving Asif stranded disappointed at the crease.

“Our bowling attack was perfect for the situation but unluckily we could not finish the match well and credit goes to Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel for their great knocks,” Babar told reporters after the match.

In the preceding match, defending champions Lahore Qalandars had suffered an eight-wicket defeat against Islamabad United, highlighting the dominance of batsmen in the early stages of the tournament.

Saim and Babar provided a strong start for Zalmi, with Saim hitting the first six of the Peshawar’s chase in the second over. Babar’s elegant stroke play, coupled with Saim’s powerful hitting, posed a significant challenge to the Gladiators’ bowlers. Howe­ver, the partnership was short-lived, with Saim departing for 42 runs, followed by a series of quick wickets that hindered Zalmi’s progress.

Quetta’s innings began with a blazing start from Saud and Roy, who exhibited exquisite stroke play. Their partnership flourished, reaching the 100-run mark in just 10 overs. Despite losing Saud and Roy early, Gladiators managed to surpass the 200-run mark, finishing at 206-5 in their allotted 20 overs.

Pacer Salman Irshad emerged as the standout bowler for Peshawar, claiming three crucial wickets, while Luke Wood and Mohammad Zeeshan provided support with a wicket each.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2024

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