Quetta Gladiators 243 for two (Roy 145*, Hafeez 41*, Mujeeb 1-38) beat Peshawar Zalmi 240 for two (Babar 115, Ayub 74, Pretorius 1-40) by eight wickets
Contemporary off a stint together with his nationwide facet in Bangladesh, he picked up in Rawalpindi the place he’d left off in Mirpur. A blow-by-blow account of the frenzy would not fairly do justice to the fluid, liquid nature of the innings, one six morphing into the following, one over mixing into the opposite. For Zalmi’s bowlers, it started to appear like a fever dream as one huge over adopted one other, and the bowlers took turns to entrance up and cop a hiding. Every of the primary eight overs noticed no less than two boundaries scored, and by this time, Gladiators had obtained themselves to 118 for one, having knocked off half the goal with 12 overs nonetheless to spare.
There have been supporting acts from the opposite finish, however Roy demanded consideration, and devoured up all of it. Will Smeed and Mohammad Hafeez have been adept in their very own proper, denying Zalmi respiration room on the different finish because the asking charge steadily got here down. After a pair of comparatively quiet overs across the midway mark, any hopes Zalmi harboured of creating inroads have been blown away across the sixteenth over, when six successive balls straddling two overs went for boundaries, successfully sealing Zalmi’s destiny. Mohammed Hafeez, who has battled private trauma over the past 24 hours, was magnificently composed, his 18-ball 41 one of many best T20 cameos of this season.
However finally, it needed to be Roy who would have the final chuckle. It was a caressed drive over mid-off that went all the best way for the ultimate six of a manic sport that overwhelmed a dazed Zalmi, that means their route by way of to the playoffs instantly leaves them with no margin for error.
All of that can finally swallow up what was an exceptional batting efficiency from Zalmi themselves, significantly their openers. After Ayub was dropped by Naseem Shah early off Hasnain, the 2 blasted their manner by way of the powerplay, amassing 67 in six overs. However they carried on as if the fielding restrictions hadn’t been eased, and Gladiators had no response to the onslaught coming their manner.
By the tenth over, the 100-partnership had been reached, and each gamers had scored half-centuries. However on the day, Babar wasn’t merely accumulating, he was matching Ayub’s strike charge toe-to-toe. They introduced up solely the second 150-run stand in PSL historical past – Babar was concerned within the first one, too, with Sharjeel Khan at Karachi Kings – and when Ayub fell for a 34-ball 74, Zalmi had pushed previous 160.
There was a slight deceleration as Babar approached three figures, however as soon as he obtained there, he set free a yelp of pleasure. The shackles have been off the innings as soon as extra, towards a Gladiators facet who have been dropping catches and committing misfields like they have been going out of favor. Thirty-three runs got here off the final two overs as Zalmi piled on the distress, and by the midway stage, they seemed to have sealed their spot within the final 4, in addition to Gladiators’ destiny.
Roy, and an impressive Gladiators, had different concepts.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000