KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi went on a sixes galore to pull off a stunning run chase that condemned Quetta Gladiators to a third straight defeat in the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 clash at the National Stadium on Friday night.
Peshawar, who were seemingly behind a challenging rate till the 48th over, burst into contention thanks to cameos from Sherfane Rutherford and captain Wahab Riaz, who blasted 48 in only 20 balls, to chalk up their second victory in three games. The outcome left Quetta devastated with three defeats in as many matches.
Rutherford bludgeoned 36 off 18 balls, studded with four sixes and a four. The West Indian left-hander turned the game upside down with Wahab (20 off eight balls, two sixes and one four). The two hammered three sixes in the penultimate over bowled by South African pace ace Dale Steyn, who went for 21 runs after taking 3-23 in his first three overs.
Peshawar outscored in a six-hitting rampage as they plundered as many as 12 to Quetta’s meagre four. Their other heroes in the chase of 202-7 in 19.3 overs — the first 200-plus total in this tournament — were Imam-ul-Haq (41 off 30 balls, four fours and one six), man-of-the-match Haider Ali (50 off 29, five fours and two sixes) and Shoaib Malik (34 off 20, three sixes and one four).
Earlier, Quetta Gladiators rode on an exhilarating fourth-wicket partnership of 105 off just 52 balls by Sarfaraz and Azam Khan to post the highest total batting first as the 2019 champions collected 198-7 despite a late cluster of wickets in the final over after being asked to bat by Wahab at the toss.
Sarfaraz, who registered his fourth half-century in PSL and the 12th overall in T20 cricket, showed common sense with a brilliant array of strokes to top score with 81. The captain’s 40-ball contribution was laced with 12 boundaries and one six.
Azam, known for his power-packed shots, didn’t lag behind his captain and thrashed six fours and two sixes — one of which comfortably cleared the canopy roof — in making 47 off 26 deliveries.
Faf du Plessis — a partial replacement for Chris Gayle who has flown back for West Indies’ home series against Sri Lanka early next month — was amongst the runs. The former South African captain struck a 26-ball 37 (four fours and one six).
Quetta were on course to becoming the first team to clear the 200-run mark, but England seamer Saqib Mahmood put a spanner in the works by grabbing three wickets in the last over.
In fact, Quetta lost four wickets for three runs in seven balls since Wahab Riaz had dismissed Sarfaraz on the final ball of his wayward spell (2-54).