Zalmi conquer Gladiators to qualify for playoffs

By our correspondent
RAWALPINDI: Peshawar Zalmi became the second team to qualify for the playoffs of HBL PSL 9 as they inflicted a heavy defeat over Quetta Gladiators in Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi on Friday night.

Peshawar posted 196 on the board , which was comfortably defended by their bowling attack, as Quetta were bundled up for just 120 in 17.5 overs. Zalmi also became the only team to have qualified for the playoffs in all nine editions of HBL PSL.

Peshawar Zalmi got off to a flying start after being put to bat first by Quetta Gladiators. After seeing off Mohammad Amir in the first over, which yielded just a run, Babar Azam and Saim Ayub went berserk, as they amassed 46 off 22 for the first-wicket partnership.

In the fourth over, Saim took on Sohail Khan by smashing two consecutive sixes and then a four. The right-arm fast bowler avenged the onslaught by removing Saim (30, 12b, 1×4, 3x6s) on the fourth delivery, who edged one to Abrar Ahmed at short third.

Mohammad Haris joined Babar on the crease for a second-wicket partnership that yielded 47 off 25. In the fifth over, Babar took on Mohammad Hasnain, who was hit for three boundaries. At the end of the powerplay, Zalmi stood tall at 70-1.

At the end of eighth over, Haris (20, 13b, 1×4, 1×6) was run out as Rilee Rossouw perfected the throw at the non-striker’s end. Haseebullah fell to Abrar shortly after, walking back for a run-a-ball six.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore, the next batter in, announced himself with two consecutive fours against Hasnain. In the 12th over, Abrar conceded 19 runs on the back of three fours and a six while Babar brought up his fourth HBL PSL 9 half-century courtesy of a boundary on the last ball.

In the next over, Babar (53, 30b, 9x4s, 1×6) was trapped leg-before by Akeal Hosein to cut short the 36-run fourth-wicket stand. Then, Saud Shakeel caught Cadmore (33, 19b, 4x4s, 1×6) at long-on to bring Zalmi to 147-5 in 13.4 overs.

Hosein, bowling the 16th over, bagged the first hattrick of HBL PSL 9 as he removed Aamer Jamal, Mehran Mumtaz and Luke Wood to derail Zalmi’s innings. This was the sixth overall hat-trick in HBL PSL history and only the second by a foreign player.

The unbeaten ninth-wicket partnership between Rovman Powell and Naveen-ul-Haq (10 not out, 9b, 1×6), yielding 39 runs did well to help Zalmi recover after the earlier setback. Powell (28 not out, 25b, 4x4s), facing Amir in the last over, hit three fours taking Zalmi to 196-8 in 20 overs.

Hosein was the pick of the bowlers for Quetta, accounting for four wickets for just 23 runs. Sohail, Hasnain and Abrar had a wicket each.

Chasing 197, Saud Shakeel and Jason Roy also put up a 46-run opening stand to match that of Zalmi’s, earlier in the game.

Khurram Shahzad, playing his first game of HBL PSL 9, was greeted with two boundaries in his first over. In the following over, Saud hit Naveen for a four and two sixes on consecutive balls to take Quetta to 45 in four overs.

Mehran, introduced to the attack inside the powerplay, provided the first breakthrough for Peshawar to trigger the collapse for Quetta, as Khurram pouched Saud (24, 12b, 2x4s, 2x6s) at short third. In the next over, Roy (16, 16b, 2x4s) departed as well with Quetta ending the powerplay at 56-2.

Saim, bowling the eighth over, further pushed Quetta into a corner as he delivered a double-wicket over that yielded just one run with Rossouw (8, 11b, 1×4) and Khawaja Nafay (5, 7b) falling without helping the scoreboard much.

Laurie Evans (12, 13b, 2x4s) also failed to make an impact with the bat and was caught at long-on, in the 11th over, to further trouble Quetta.

Omair bin Yousuf (10, 13b, 1×4), in his first game of HBL PSL 9, and Hosein (14, 14b, 2x4s) added 21 runs for the sixth-wicket stand before both of them fell in consecutive overs to Naveen and Wood respectively.

Amir made 13 off eight , with the help of three boundaries, before he was caught at midwicket by Saim, awarding Mehran his second wicket. Then, Khurram returned to dismiss the last two batters in the 18th over as Gladiators were bowled out for just 120, awarding Zalmi the game by 76 runs.

Mehran, Khurram, Saim and Wood bagged two scalps while Naveen and Jamal dismissed one batter each.

Scores in brief:

Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiators by 76 runs

Peshawar Zalmi 196-8, 20 overs (Babar Azam 53, Tom Kohler-Cadmore 33, Saim Ayub 30; Akeal Hosein 4-23)

Quetta Gladiators 120 all out, 17.5 overs (Saud Shakeel 24, Jason Roy 16; Khurram Shahzad 2-15, Saim Ayub 2-20, Luke Wood 2-21, Mehram Mumtaz 2-22)

Player of the match – Saim Ayub (Peshawar Zalmi)

Tomorrow’s fixture: Lahore Qalandars v Karachi Kings, National Bank Stadium, Karachi (7pm)

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