Thursday, April 18, 2024

PCB: Gutsy Saud guides Gladiators to playoffs after nail-biting win over Qalandars

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Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board

  • Event hashtags are #KhulKeKhel and #HBLPSL9; match schedule available here
  • The official nomenclature of the tournament is HBL PSL. Media houses are advised to use the correct event nomenclature in all texts, headlines and bulletins

Quetta Gladiators secured their spot for the HBL PSL 9 playoffs after they defeated Lahore Qalandars by six wickets at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Sunday night. After restricting Lahore to 166-4 in the first innings, vice-captain Saud Shakeel produced a brilliant unbeaten knock of 88 runs that allowed Quetta to edge over Lahore in the last-ball thriller.

Lahore Qalandars could only manage to post 166-4 on the board  after choosing to bat first. Sahibzada Farhan and Mirza Tahir Baig gave a decent start to their team ; after Farhan hit a four on the first delivery of the game, the two took turns breaching the boundary periodically in the third, fourth and fifth overs.

Abrar Ahmed, introduced in the sixth over, removed Farhan (25, 22b, 4x4s) on the third ball and then Tahir (12, 13b, 1×6) on the last delivery to bring Lahore down to 39-2 by the end of the powerplay.

Abdullah Shafique, batting at three, hit two consecutive fours against Mohammad Wasim Jnr in the seventh over to recover the damage. He then hit a boundary against Abrar in the next over. Shai Hope, who could only manage five off seven, was caught behind in the 10th over off Wasim’s bowling as Lahore got to 70-3 at the halfway mark.

Shaheen Shah Afridi promoted himself up the order, taking the  responsibility  of boosting his side’s total. The fourth-wicket partnership between Abdullah and Shaheen yielded 91 from 57, helping the team establish a sense of control over the innings.

After four quiet overs, Shaheen took on Akeal Hosein by smashing three sixes in the 15th over. An over later, he hit two sixes against Abrar to get to his second HBL PSL half-century.

In the 18th over , Abdullah (59 not out, 39b, 3x4s, 2x6s) also completed his second consecutive half-century of HBL PSL 9 in style as he hit a six against Hosein on the fourth delivery.

In the last over, Sohail Khan caught the ball on his second attempt while fielding at deep third to help Amir dismiss Shaheen, who had to walk back for 55 on 34, on the back of two fours and four sixes. The final over only produced six runs as Lahore finished with  a competitive total.

Abrar had two wickets, while Amir and Wasim had one each.

Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel gave Quetta Gladiators a 39-run opening stand after the former hit Shaheen three consecutive fours on the first three balls of the innings.

Jahandad Khan, bowling the sixth over, provided the breakthrough as Roy (18, 14b, 4x4s) was caught behind. Quetta ended the powerplay at 43-1.

Saud was joined by his captain, Rilee Rossouw, in the middle for a 27-run second-wicket stand which was broken by Jahandad on the last ball of the ninth over. Rossouw walked back for 13 off 11, with the help of one four.

The Quetta captain, however, became the first foreign batter to complete 2000 HBL PSL runs and the fifth overall, only behind Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Rizwan.

Khawaja Nafay and Saud produced a dogged third-wicket stand, that yielded 70 from 53, to reestablish Quetta’s control over the game after the two initial wickets. In the 13th over, Saud brought his second HBL PSL 9 half-century, taking 42 deliveries to do so.

The partnership was eventually broken by Shaheen, who trapped Nafay (26, 24b, 1×6) leg-before wicket in the 18th over.

Quetta required 29 from the final two overs, with Saud and Laurie Evans on the crease. Jahandad conceded 15 in the penultimate over courtesy of a four by Evans and a six by Saud to bring the equation to 14 needed from the final six deliveries.

Shaheen removed Evans (7, 4b, 1×4) on the first ball of the final over as Tahir took a spectacular diving catch at deep cover point. Saud then hit two consecutive boundaries, inching closer to the target.

With four needed off the final ball, Wasim, the sixth batter in, hit a six to help his team over the rope. Saud (88, 65b, 5x4s, 4x6s) remained unbeaten at the other end as Quetta cruised to the playoffs for the first time since 2019.

Jahandad and Shaheen picked up two wickets each.

Scores in brief:

Quetta Gladiators beat Lahore Qalandars by six wickets

Lahore Qalandars 166-4, 20 overs (Abdullah Shafique 59 not out, Shaheen Shah Afridi 55; Abrar Ahmed 2-31)

Quetta Gladiators 169-4, 20 overs (Saud Shakeel 88 not out, Khawaja Nafay 26; Jahandad Khan 2-31, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-41)

Player of the match – Saud Shakeel (Quetta Gladiators)

Tomorrow’s fixture: Peshawar Zalmi v Karachi Kings at National Bank Stadium, Karachi (9pm)

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