Rutherford’s firework guides Gladiators to their fourth win

By our correspondent
KARACHI: An unbeaten 58 off 31 balls by Sherfane Rutherford led Quetta Gladiators to their fourth win of HBL PSL 9 as they skittled Karachi Kings in a last-ball thriller at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Thursday night.
In pursuit of the 166-run target Quetta Gladiators’ opening batters, Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel (24, 20b, 4x4s), got off to a decent start putting on 57 runs in the powerplay before the latter was removed by Hasan Ali. Roy, assuming the aggressor role, hit three sixes and one four during the powerplay.
Khawaja Nafay, at number three, erred with his calculation of a big shot and was caught by Muhammad Irfan Khan at long-on off the bowling of Zahid Mahmood for a paltry six-ball two-run outing.
Sarfaraz Ahmed’s (3, 6b) stay at the crease was cut short by a spectacular catch by Kings’ wicketkeeper Tim Seifert, who dived to his left to pouch the ball off Hasan’s bowling. . At the halfway mark, Quetta Gladiators required 83 to win with seven wickets in hand.
Roy (52, 31b, 2x4s, 4x6s) brought up his eighth HBL PSL half-century off just 27 balls but was then removed by Shoaib Malik in the 12th over
In the following over, Zahid returned to dismiss Rilee Rossouw (6, 10b, 1×4), putting the Gladiators in a challenging situation.
Rutherford was joined by Akeal Hosein, with 65 required off 47 balls. The duo took some time to adjust before hitting a six each in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th overs bringing down the equation to just 25 required off the last two overs.
Rutherford struck Hasan for another six in the penultimate over and taking a total of 10 runs off it. Anwar Ali was faced with the challenge of defending 15 off the last over which started with Rutherford smashing two sixes on the first two balls and also bringing up his third HBL PSL fifty, off 27 balls.
Quetta required one on the last ball as Rutherford hit a boundary towards fine-leg sealing the game for his team. Hosein (22 not out, 17b, 1×4, 1×6) and Rutherford (58 not out, 31b, 1×4, 6x6s) stitched a match-winning unbeaten 80-run sixth-wicket partnership.
Hasan and Zahid returned with two wickets each while Malik bagged one scalp.
Earlier, Quetta Gladiators won the coin toss and opted to bowl first. The decision soon bore fruit as left-arm spinner, Hosein, outfoxed Shan Masood (2, 3b) on the third ball of the opening over.
James Vince walked in all guns blazing as he smoked boundaries to all parts of the ground while Seifert too took advantage of the field restrictions. At the end of the powerplay, Karachi Kings racked up 61 for the loss of one wicket.
Mystery spinner Usman Tariq struck on the first ball of his spell to bring an end to the 59-run second-wicket partnership as Seifert was pinned leg-before wicket.
Vince too was adjudged leg-before wicket on the last ball of the same over after scoring 37 off 25 balls, comprising eight fours.
Mohammad Nawaz relieved some pressure off by hitting Mohammad Wasim Jnr for a hat-trick of boundaries in the 10th over with the scorecard reading 91-3.
Malik (12, 20b) meanwhile struggled to get off the blocks before Abrar Ahmed removed him in 13th over. In the following over, Hosein got rid of the dangerous Nawaz as well, who by then had raced to 28 off 19 balls on the back of four boundaries.
Abrar returned in the 16th over to jolt the Kings twice as he took out Kieron Pollard for a meager score of 13 off 10 balls followed by the wicket of Hasan (2, 2b) leaving Karachi 136-7 after 17 overs.
A last-over assault from the bat of veteran Anwar saw Karachi Kings ransacking 20 runs as he hit Wasim for two sixes and one four. Anwar’s unbeaten cameo of 25 from 14 balls meant Karachi Kings posted 165-8 in 20 overs.
Abrar bagged a three-wicket haul while Hosein and Usman returned for two wickets each. Wasim picked up one wicket as well.

Scores in brief:
Quetta Gladiators beat Karachi Kings by five wickets
Karachi Kings 165-8, 20 overs (James Vince 37, Mohammad Nawaz 28, Anwar Ali 25 not out; Abrar Ahmed 3-31, Usman Tariq 2-16, Akeal Hosein 2-34)
Quetta Gladiators 169-5, 20 overs (Sherfane Rutherford 58 not out, Jason Roy 52, Akeal Hosein 22 not out; Zahid Mahmood 2-17, Hasan Ali 2-39)
Player of the match – Sherfane Rutherford (Quetta Gladiators)
Saturday’s fixtures: Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi at Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi (2pm), Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators at Pindi Cricket Stadium)

-ENDS-

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