Quetta whip Karachi but fail to reach semis

From our correspondent
KARACHI: Quetta Gladiators were dethroned despite the fact that they overwhelmed Karachi Kings by five wickets in their last outing of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 here at National Stadium on Sunday.
Gladiators’ semi-finals chances had virtually ended by Lahore’s massive nine-wicket triumph over table-toppers Multan Sultans in Lahore earlier on Sunday. Both Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi finished with nine points each but the later progressed to the semi-finals due to better net run-rate. Gladiators on Sunday needed to chase the required 151-run target, set for them by Kings, in only 3.2 overs if they were to make it to the knock-out stage and surpass Zalmi on net run-rate which was indeed an improbable task.
In semi-finals on Tuesday (tomorrow) at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore, Multan Sultans will face Peshawar Zalmi at 2pm while Karachi Kings will clash with Lahore Qalanadars at 7pm. Final will be held on Wednesday at 7pm.
Powered by superb batting from Khurram Manzoor (63) and Shane Watson (66), Gladiators raced to the 151-run target in 16.2 overs after losing five wickets.
Earlier Cameron Delport hit a solid 62 off 44 balls to enable Kings post 150-5.
Chasing seemingly fighting total, Gladiators had a poor start when left-arm medium-pacer Waqas Maqsood got rid of Ahmed Shehzad (0) off the second delivery of the innings when he edged the left-armer to keeper Mohammad Rizwan.
However Khurram Manzoor and Watson took the game away from Kings by sharing an 118-run partnership for the second wicket. Khurram, who was removed by Waqas, hammered nine fours and one six in his breezy 40-ball feat. Khurram, playing his first game, also hit Ali Khan for four fours in one over.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s poor form continued as he fell for two when he offered a juicy catch to close-in fielder Walton off Ali Khan. Gladiators were 121-3 in the 13th over. Arshad Iqbal then got rid of Watson and Ben Cutting (0) off two successive deliveries to reduce Gladiators to 139-5. Watson hammered four sixes and seven fours in his 40-ball third fifty of the event.
However Azam Khan (12) and Mohammad Nawaz (8) scored the rest of runs comfortably.
Waqas (2-19) and Arshad (2-37) were the pick of the bowlers.
After opting to bat, Karachi Kings had a poor start when their solid dasher Sharjeel Khan (0) failed to deliver when he was bowled by teenage fast bowling sensation Naseem Shah off the second ball of the innings. It was a delivery that pitched on the off-stump, Sharjeel went for a drive towards onside, beaten by the pace and it rather crashed the top of the off-stumps.
Iftikhar then joined Babar Azam but he also failed to play a major innings. Iftikhar was removed by Sohail Khan, held by Watson, after the Peshawar-born right-hander had hit 17-ball 21 with three fours.
Cameron Delport then came and he with Babar started building the total. However after adding 42 runs for the third wicket stand Australian leggie Fawad Ahmed got the key man Babar, held by Mohammad Nawaz at mid-off after the Pakistan’s limited-over skipper went for a big shot but failed to time it properly.
Babar hit 34-ball 32, striking three fours.
Chadwick Walton then took the crease and he along with South African Delport added 73 for the fourth wicket to take their side to a fighting total.
Naseem removed Walton off the last ball of the 19th over for 20-ball 26. He went for a straight drive but could not beat the deep long-on fielder Mohammad Hasnain. Walton hit one six and two fours.
Hasnain then had Delport after the left-hander had hammered two sixes and five fours in his good innings.
Naseem got 2-17 in four overs. Sohail Khan, leggie Fawad Ahmed and Hasnain got one wicket each.
Kings rested their skipper Imad Wasim, Chris Jordan, Umaid Asif and Mohammad Amir and brought in Mohammad Rizwan, Ali Khan, Waqas Maqsood and Umer Khan.
The match was supervised by Michael Gough and Rashid Riaz while Ahsan Raza was television umpire and Faisal Afridi as reserve umpire. Roshan Mahanama was match referee.

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