About the Match
Quetta Gladiators clinched a berth in the playoffs by winning the match against Karachi Kings by 6 wickets with one over to spare; they are positioned at the top of the table with 9 points and will now take on Zalmi, who are in 4th place with 5 points, on 25th February at Dubai for the last league game. Zalmi have lost two consecutive games against Karachi Kings and United, leading to a massive setback to their campaign; but they will try to squeeze into the playoffs with a better run rate compared to the Kings.
Chasing 174 against Kings, the batting line-up fell like a pack of cards, being able to muster only 165 in reply getting all-out in the last over. The top order put up a dismal show, with players like Tamim Iqbal, who has been out of form, Kamran Akmal, Eoin Morgan and Shoaib Maqsood failing to fire. Shahid Afridi top-scored with 54 off 28 while Sammy played a useful knock, scoring 34 runs but they couldn’t preserve the wickets and lost the game by 9 runs. Earlier, spinner Iftikhar Ahmed took 2-8 but the others couldn’t stop the opponent’s run-flow.
In the game against United, the batsmen yet again choked up while batting first and they could only set a target of 136; Morgan, Sammy, Afridi and Wahab Riaz tried to make amends but in vain. The bowling department tried to stifle the opponents but they couldn’t do anything extraordinary.
They have done well in the beginning of the league winning two straight games but things have gone awry right from the earlier game against Gladiators that was washed out by rain. They need to pull up their socks and come up with a fighting performance here if they want to qualify.
Openers Asad Shafiq and Ahmed Shehzad each scored a half-century and posted a 105-run opening stand against Kings while chasing 155, thereby setting the foundation for yet another victory. Rossouw and Sarfraz Ahmed, who have been in good nick with the bat, kept the scoreboard ticking and ensured to take the team safely home with 1 over to spare. Mahmudullah continued to do well with the ball, this time claiming 3-21 and along with Anwar Ali’s 2-30, they restricted Kings to 154.
In the match against Lahore Qalandars, the batting line-up showed its mettle as they chased down a tough target of 201 with panache. Kevin Pietersen’s fiery 88 off 42 lit up the stadium in Sharjah and with help from Rossouw and Sarfraz Ahmed, who scored 33 off 18 and 45 off 25 respectively, they won the match by 5 wickets with 7 balls to spare. Although spinners Hasan Khan and Zulfiqar Babar provided 3 breakthroughs between them, the others failed to contain the Qalandars from galloping away to 200; but Pietersen, Rossouw and Ahmed ensured they crossed the finish line with ease.
They have tough batting contingent and an in-form bowling attack that comprises of speedsters like Anwar Ali and Perera while the spin magic from Babar, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Khan and Mahmudullah can make any opposition crack under pressure.
For Zalmi this is a do-or-die situation with stiff challenge anticipated from the Kings if they win their last game against United; Gladiators on the other hand have proven to be a formidable force to reckon with and are clear favourites to win this contest too on Saturday