Quetta Gladiators began the PSL 2019 with a 6-wicket win thanks to Umar Akmal’s heroics during the 156-run chase against Peshawar Zalmi. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Quetta Gladiators bowled brilliantly to restrict Peshawar Zalmi to a moderate total of 155 for 4 and registered a six-wicket win in the third match of the Pakistan Super League at the Dubai International Stadium.

Umar Akmal ensured the victory with two balls to spare through an elegant unbeaten 75 runs off 50 balls with seven boundaries and three sixes. Quetta skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad too chipped in with an invaluable 37 runs.

It was a surprisingly slow batting from Peshawar with only Kamran Akmal and Misbah Ul Haq scoring 49 runs each. Akmal’s 49 came off 36 balls with five boundaries while Haq’s 49 came off 32 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. All the other batsmen too batted slowly.

Quetta won the toss and elected to field. Peshawar’s opener Akmal hit the first ball of the innings from Sohail Tanvir for a boundary through covers. Akmal also hit left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz’s last ball of the second over for a six.

Mohammad Irfan dismissed opener Andre Fletcher for 1 by trapping him leg before with the second ball of the third over while attempting a swipe across the line of the ball.

Sohaib Maqsood began confidently by lifting Ifran over mid-off for a boundary. He also hit Ghulam Mudassar for a six over extra cover in the fourth over. Akmal picked two boundaries off Tanvir who was re-introduced into the attack for the fifth over. Maqsood continued to hit powerfully and scored a six off Nawaz by hitting him over the sight screen . Akmal on 25 got escaped being caught by Mohammad Irfan jr off Nawaz.

Akmal celebrated it by hitting Fawad Ahmad for a six, a boundary and another six off three successive balls. The pair put on 64 runs in eight overs when Nawaz had Akmal caught by Rossouw at deep cover for 49.

Misbah Ul Haq joined Maqsood in the 11th over. After Mudassar took the wicket of Maqsood in the 13th over, the run flow dipped. Maqsood got caught by Irfan at sweep cover for 26 runs off 29 balls.

Kieron Pollard lasted just six balls to score three runs before Nawaz had him caught at long-on by Umar Akmal. Misbah hit Irfan for two consecutive boundaries in the last over and remained unbeaten on 49. He put on 53 runs in the last 4.4 overs with Dawson, who remained unbeaten on 21.

Quetta got off to a disastrous start with Hasan Ali trapping Ahmad Shahzad leg before with the first ball of the innings. Rilee Rossouw joined opener Shane Watson hit Umaid Asif for a six and two consecutive boundaries in the fourth over but fell to the last ball of the over lofting high to Hasan Ali at long-on for 19. Next man Umar Akmal hit the second ball he faced from Sameen Gul over long off for a six. He also hit Umaid Asif over long-on in the sixth over. Rossouw and Akmal added 37 runs in the next 4.2 overs when Wahab Riaz had Rossouw caught by Maqsood at mid-off for 19.

At the half way mark, Quetta were 82 for 3 needing another 74 runs, when Sarfraz Ahmad joined Akmal. The pair put on 50 runs in 39 balls. Akmal reached his half century in 35 balls.

When Quetta needed 23 runs from 21 balls, Sarfaraz drove Wahab Riaz into the hands of Darren Sammy at covers for 37. Akmal took responsibility and steered the team safely to the target.

Brief scores:

Quetta Gladiators bt Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets, Peshawar Zalmi 155 for 4 in 20 overs (Kamran Akmal 49, Sohaib Maqsood 26, Misbah Ul Haq 49n.o, Liam Dawson 21n.o, Mohammad Nawaz 2 for 25) Quetta Gladiators 161 for 4 in 19.4 overs (Umar Akmal 75n.o, Sarfaraz Ahmad 37, Wahab Riaz 2 for 18). Man of the match: Umar Akmal