Kolkata: The nightmarish campaign of Quetta Gladiators continued when yet another defeat ended their qualifying hopes in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. It was also a double whammy as Faf Du Plessis, their South African veteran, returned home after suffering a concussion on Saturday.
In a tweet on Sunday, the 36-year-old said he suffered some memory loss after the concussion but was confident of making a quick return to action. However, the Quetta franchise tweeted on Wednesday that du Plessis would take no further part in the tournament due to the “nasty’’ collision. “The star batsman will be flying back to South Africa,” the team added.
“We wish the legend all the best & hope he gets back on the field soon.”
Bottom placed Gladiators, who suffered an embarrassing 110-run defeat by Multan Sultans on Wednesday, face Karachi Kings in their final group match on Saturday.
Sent in to bat, Multan opener Shan Masood starred with 73 off 42 balls to in a healthy total of 183 for five wickets before leg-spinner Imran Tahir’s haul of 3-7 helped skittle out Quetta for a paltry 73 in 12.1 overs.
‘’We couldn’t get the team combination right this season, especially with the foreign players,’’ said Quetta captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. The team was dogged by ill luck when two of Quetta’s foreign pros on whom they pinned a lot of hopes - first Andre Russell and then Faf - suffered concussions, taking the firepower out of Sarfaraz’s team.
In the absence of Russell and du Plessis, Quetta’s two other foreign batsmen Jake Weatherald (19) and Cameroon Delport (0) fell cheaply.
Masood dominated an opening stand of 72 for Multan with captain Mohammad Rizwan (21). The Pakistan international hit seven fours and four sixes before being caught on the long-on boundary. Johnson Charles then smashed 47 off 24 balls.
Fourth-placed Multan now has eight points from as many matches. ‘‘We play 10 matches so you need momentum somewhere,’’ Rizwan said. ‘’We didn’t get that in Karachi but have gelled well here in Abu Dhabi. Someone or the other keeps performing and that’s giving us the results.’’
Islamabad United, on 12 points, is the only team to have ensured play-offs as the tournament approaches the business-end. Peshawar Zalmi and Lahore Qalandars have 10 points each, while defending champion Karachi Kings is precariously placed on six points.