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Quetta Gladiators became the first team to ascertain their place in the top-four of the 2019 edition of the Pakistan Super League with their win over Peshawar Zalmi. The win pushed them back onto the top position at the points table. They are all set to take on Islamabad United in their upcoming encounter which is to be played at the same venue on 5th March. Islamabad United are yet to play at Abu Dhabi and although the surface isn't too different from what we saw at Dubai, it would be interesting to see how their batsmen adapt to the different conditions.
After a brief spell of unfavorable results, Quetta Gladiators are once again starting to look like an invincible side with Shane Watson and Ahmed Shehzad in fine form. With a brilliant 91-run knock against Peshawar Zalmi, Watson not only played a vital role in Gladiators' victory but also moved to the top of the run-getters charts in the Pakistan Super League 2019.
Chasing a total of 167, it was all about Shane Watson and Ahmed Shehzad as the duo took the sting out of the Zalmi attack. Shane Watson carried his back and returned with 91 runs to his name whereas Ahmed Shehzad was dismissed after scoring an important fifty.
Even though the pair of Shehzad and Watson was responsible for making a mockery of the Peshawar's total, it were their bowlers who actually set that up for them. Dwayne Bravo produced a death bowling masterclass and gave away just three singles in the last over which played a huge part in Gladiators' success.
SR Watson, Ahmed Shehzad, Azam Khan, Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, S Tanvir, Mohammad Hasnain, Fawad Ahmed, Rilee Rossouw.
Not long ago, Asif Ali's 70-run knock lifted Islamabad United to the top of the table, but thanks to a bad defeat against Peshawar Zalmi, they've slid down to the third spot with Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators two and four points above them respectively.
They last played a match four days ago wherein Mohammad Sami conceded four runs off the final delivery to complete a heart-wrenching loss. Despite the loss, there were a few positives to take from the match for the United. Cameron Delport's return to form with business-end of the tournament not far away was definitely something they will look forward to. Delport played a 71-run knock which single-handedly took the United score up and over 160.
Boyce's wicket brought down United's scoring rate and they eventually finished at 175 with just 29 runs coming off the last 23 deliveries. Just like their batting which struggled at the death, their bowling failed to close the match despite having Zalmi on the match with 5 for 86. However, Faheem Ashraf gave away 27 runs off the thirteenth over which shifted the match back in Zalmi's favor.
Luke Ronchi, C Delport, Philip Salt, Asif Ali, Amad Butt, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Sami, SR Patel, Rizwan Hussain, Shadab Khan, Zafar Gohar.
The defending champions have done well in the tournament so far, but they, too, haven't really been flawless. They have cracked often when under the pump and the last match was one prime example of it. Gladiators, on the other hand, have the services of a few of the most experienced players of the game with almost all of them contributing well. With Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, and Ahmed Shehzad in fine form, the Gladiators are better placed to win the upcoming match and ascertain a place for them in the top two.