Haider, Rutherford, Wahab star in Zalmi tense win over Quetta Gladiators

By AZ Aamir

KARACHI: Haider Ali hit a fine fifty and late blitz from Sherfane Rutherford and Wahab Riaz enabled Peshawar Zalmi record their second win from three games when they downed Quetta Gladiators by three wickets in a gripping showdown of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 here at National Stadium on Friday night.
Chasing 199, Zalmi required 27 off the last two overs. Wahab Riaz hit Dale Steyn for two successive sixes and Rutherford also hit a six in that over which fetched 21 runs. Zalmi required six off the final over from Mohammad Hasnain (1-40) who clean bowled Wahab Riaz who hit eight-ball 20 with two sixes and one four. Off the next ball Saqib Mehmood (0) got run out before Hasnain conceding five wides when his wide delivery crossed the boundary. Rutherford then hit Hasnain for a four to make Zalmi home with three balls to spare after losing seven wickets.
Rutherford smashed four sixes and one four in his blistering 18-ball 36 not out.
Chasing a tough target Peshawar Zalmi received an early blow when they lost Kamran Akmal (3), held at deep backward point by Ben Cutting off Usman Shinwari. 
Dale Steyn then removed Tom Kohler-Cadmore (4) to leave Zalmi reeling at 27-2 in four overs.
Imam-ul-Haq (41) and Haider Ali then started scoring runs quickly. However, leggie Zahid Mahmood bowled Imam to leave Zalmi at 79-3 in the tenth over. Imam struck four fours and one six from 30 balls. Imam added 52 runs off 32 balls in the third wicket stand with Haider.
Steyn got rid of Haider Ali (50), held by Faf du Plessis at mid-of, to tilt the game in favour of Quetta as Zalmi were 131-4 in 14.1 overs. Haider’s fifty came off 28 balls. The right-hander, dropped on 22, struck five fours and two sixes in his 29-ball knock.
Haider added 52 off 29 deliveries for the fourth wicket association with Shoaib Malik. Zalmi needed 63 off the last five overs. Ben Cutting removed Malik in the 16th over to dent Zalmi’s chances as they were 145-5 at that stage. Malik, given lbw, took review which showed that the ball was hitting the leg stump and he had to go. Malik struck three sixes and one four in his 20-ball 34.
However Rutherford and Wahab shared 48 quick runs in the sixth wicket stand to turn the game in favour of Zalmi. Steyn got 2-44 in four overs.  Earlier skipper Sarfraz Ahmed hit a sublime 81 to enable Quetta Gladiators post 198-7.  Sarfraz looked in terrific form and runs were emanating fluently from his blade. He was timing the ball quite well. He also hit Wahab Riaz for three fours and one six in the penultimate over which fetched 19 runs. Sarfraz, who was removed by Wahab off the last ball of the 19thover, hammered 12 fours and one six in his 40-ball knock. Sarfraz’s fifty came off just 31 balls. This is his first fifty in this event and overall fourth in his PSL history. This is also his highest score in the PSL.
He added 105 runs off 52 balls for the fourth wicket stand with Azam Khan who hammered two huge sixes and six fours in his 26-ball 47. English pacer Saqib Mehmood got three wickets in the final over by removing Azam Khan, Ben Cutting and Mohammad Nawaz (2) inside five deliveries to restrict Gladiators to 198-7, the highest total of the event so far.
Earlier after being invited to bat first Quetta Gladiators lost early wicket when left-arm pacer Mohammad Imran removed Cameron Delport, held by Imam-ul-Haq at point. The South African left-handed batsman scored just two off five balls.
Faf du Plessis (37) and Saim Ayub (21) then tried to build the innings and added 33 runs for the second wicket stand before the later got run out to reduc Quetta to 48-2 in the seventh over.
Saim struck four fours in his 19-ball knock. Faf, who has been roped in as Chris Gayle partial replacement, then fell to Wahab Riaz after a quick-fire 26-ball 37. The South African, who was held by Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, smacked one six and fur fours in his fluent knock.
Saqib finished with figures of 3-34 while Wahab claimed 2-54 in his four overs.
Haider was adjudged as man of the match for his fine fifty. Earlier Quetta made three changes by bringing in Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn and Cameron Delport in place of Chris Gayle (not available), Tom Banton and Anwar Ali.
Zalmi did not make any change in their side which had defeated Multan Sultans by six wickets the other night.