Kamran Akmal and David Miller put on 125 runs off just 73 deliveries to set up a 61-run victory for Peshawar Zalmi over Quetta Gladiators that sent the 2019 champions packing from the Pakistan Super League 6 at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Recovering from 10/2, the Zalmi finished at 197/5 with Miller clobbering six fours and four sixes in a 46-ball 73 and Akmal contributing a well-constructed 37-ball 59 with six fours and two sixes. Quetta, who were already without Andre Russell, suffered a devastating blow when Faf du Plessis suffered a concussion in a freak fielding accident after colliding with Mohammad Hasnain. Without two star batters, the 198-run target was always a herculean task for the Gladiators, who hobbled to 136/9 after being 62 for no loss in the eighth over.
The result meant Peshawar moved to join Islamabad United on eight points from seven matches, while the defeat proved to be the end of the road for Quetta who suffered their sixth loss in seven matches. Lahore Qalandars sit on top of the points table with 10 points from six matches, while Karachi Kings are on six points and Multan Sultans on four points from six matches apiece.
The Gladiators made an impressive start in the must-win match by winning the toss and then restricting Peshawar to 22/2 at the end of six overs. But Miller changed gears in the eighth over and unleashed a brutal attack on Gladiators’ spinners Zahid Mahmood, Zahir Khan and Mohammad Nawaz as the ball continued to disappear in the empty stands at regular intervals.
Akmal, who was a silent spectator in the opening overs, joined the party and followed Miller as the two switched Zalmi’s fourth-highest partnership of 125 from 73 balls. They matched stroke by stroke as Gladiators were left clueless and out of ideas.
With the stage set for the highest score in the Abu Dhabi-leg of matches, Rovman Powell made sure that the Zalmi got close to the 200-run mark by slapping five sixes and a four in an electrifying 19-ball 43 not out. The Zalmi, who were 141/3 after 15 overs, scored 39 runs in the last three overs, including 21 off the final over by Zahid Mahmood who finished with figures of 3-0-53-0.
With Andre Russell and du Plessis not available, the Gladiators proved to be an easy prey for the ruthless Zalmi as fast bowlers Mohammad Irfan and Umaid Asif, who bowled impressively on a good batting surface to restrict Quetta to 136. Irfan returned figures of 3/27 and Asif finished with 2/17. Captain Wahab Riaz was the other wicket-taker with 2/20.
For the Gladiators, captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was the top scorer with 36 not out, while Saim Ayub, who was a concussion replacement for du Plessis, scored 35.
(With inputs from PSL media release)