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RAWALPINDI: Records tumbled at the Pindi Stadium Wednesday with Quetta Gladiators chased down the highest-ever target in Pakistan Super League (PSL) history amid the run-galore spearheaded by Jason Roy’s (145 not out) blitz.
Roy emulated Babar Azam’s century effort to give Gladiators fans a new ray of hope as Quetta hit the 241 runs target with ten deliveries and eight wickets in hand. Roy who also managed the highest-ever individual score of the PSL toyed with Zalmi bowlers with some sensational hitting. He was too aggressive against Wahab Riaz (1-56) and Arshad Iqbal (0-55) as runs kept on coming from his bat with utmost ease. Together with Will Sameed (26), Roy put on 109 for the second wicket in less than nine overs and another 93 for the unbroken third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez in just 6.2 overs.
The Gladiators team had no other option but to go for an all-out attack at the outset, raising 41 in 2.5 overs before losing Guptill (21) to Wahab Riaz who took a skier off his own bowling. In the process, he also smashed most boundaries by a batter in PSL history. Such was the attacking prowess of Roy that he was literally playing shots of his liking with utmost precision. The 20 fours and five sixes he scored could all be rated as perfect cricketing shots.
Thanks to Jason Roy’s sensational play Quetta raised 100 in just 7 overs, raising the second fifty in just 17 balls. Man of the Match Roy later on smashed 100, the second fastest of PSL (behind 43-ball hundred by Rilee Rossouw) in just 44 balls to keep Gladiators on track of the improbable target. For the first time, the PSL two centuries were scored in a single match but it was Roy’s effort that ultimately worked wonders helping his side to live for another day.
“It was really fun to play such an inning. With reachable boundaries, I really enjoyed playing here. It was also exciting to see fans fully enjoying the match,” Roy, said.
Babar rued missed chance, saying that bowling was
Earlier, Babar Azam (115) cantered to his first PSL century with a trademark cover drive as thousands of Pindi Stadium fans started chanting Barbar-Babar. Pakistan’s all-format skipper smashed 14 fours and two sixes during his 60-ball hundred which was his eighth in the T20 format. Such was the precision of Babar’s batting that it looked impossible for Quetta bowlers to dislodge him. Ultimately it was the run out that saw Babar’s fall following an exciting 65-ball stay at the wicket that included 15 boundaries and three sixes. Rovman Powell’s (35 not out) 18-ball blistering unbeaten knock also helped Peshawar Zalmi raise 240 for 2-the second-highest team score of the season. Powell also cracked two sixes during his innings with one of them landing deep into the crowd.
But Babar and Saim Ayub’s opening stand of 162 in 13.3 overs kept the crowd on toes
Babar Azam and Saim Ayub stepped up the gear raising 67 of the power-ply to set a solid platform for Peshawar Zalmi to put pressure on Quetta Gladiator bowlers. While Babar was as usual fluent with his boundary hitting, Saim who was dropped earlier by Naseem Shah of Mohammad Husnain was more inclined towards hitting lofted shots.
Saim raced to his fifty with two consecutive sixes of Mohammad Nawaz, His 24-ball half-century saw him clearing the boundary thrice. He also had four boundaries during his
Babar raised his 32-ball fifty with a straight six and added another boundary minutes later as both openers looked unstoppable on a wicket that offered no assistance to bowlers. Zalmi raised 100 in less than 10 overs
Zalmi reached 150 in 12.2 overs and when Saim finally lost his wicket, the opening wicket stand already had fetched 162 runs in 13.3 overs-the second-ever highest PSL partnership. Babar and Sharjeel raised 176 for the opening stand for Karachi against Islamabad United in 2021 which still stands as the highest-ever stand in PSL history. Saim’s 34-ball innings of 76 contained five sixes and six fours.
Now Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars match on Thursday at Pindi Stadium will decide the PSL table leader.