Dubai: The unstoppable Shane Watson sparkled again with another half-century to lift Quetta Gladiators into the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the qualifier match held at Karachi National Stadium on Wednesday night by beating Peshawar Zalmi by 10 runs.
Watson, who has hit scores of 81 not out, 61 and 91 not out during the PSL matches in the UAE, cracked a 43-ball 71 studded with six sixes and five boundaries and helped Quetta post an impressive 186-6 in their 20 overs.
Peshawar chased the score through Kieron Pollard’s 22-ball 44 with six boundaries and a six and Darren Sammy’s 21-ball 46 with five sixes and two boundaries, still Peshawar could muster only 176-7 in their 20 overs.
This is the third time Quetta are in the final of the PSL and in 2016 and 2017 they lost in the final.
Interestingly, the reason for Watson being in tremendous form is due to a calf injury. Watson revealed that he has focused in his batting so much due to it. “I have not bowled for a few months,” he said.
“I had strained my calf and that was reason I was not bowling and concentrating on my batting towards the end of my career.”
Peshawar were heading towards a big defeat after Misbah-ul-Haq became one of young pacer Mohammad Hasnain’s one of the two victims. Pollard and Sammy through an 83-run stand for the sixth-wicket lifted their team. It came down to 21 off the final over bowled by Watson, who was hit for a six off the second ball by Pollard before the Australian bowled him with a short slower ball. Next ball Sammy was run out as he attempted a bye.
Quetta skipper Sarfraz Ahmad, who was delighted with his team reaching the final, said: “It is a very good victory. Watson steadied the innings after the loss of an early wicket and Ahsan (Ali) supported him very well and then bowlers controlled when it mattered.”
Sammy was as sporting as ever, saying: “Credit to Quetta, they deserved to win. The bowlers came back strongly in the last 10 overs but we were an over and 16 runs short.”
Watson and Ahsan Ali’s 32-ball 46 with two sixes and four boundaries had lifted Quetta after they lost opener Ahmed Shahzad for one in the second over. The pair put on 111 runs to steady the innings.
Eighteen-year-old Hasnain, who bowled brilliantly has now 22 wickets from this PSL. Watson, who leads the runs table with 423 runs from 11 matches, applauding Hasnain, said: “He is an incredibly skilful young man. The ability to bowl so fast and have the control that he has, is unheard of. I have not seen someone of his age bowl so fast.”
Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi by 10 runs
Quetta Gladiators 186-6 in 20 overs (Watson 71, Ali 46; Riaz 2-26)
Peshawar Zalmi 176-7 in 20 overs (Sammy 46, Pollard 44; Hasnain 2-28)