PSL: Quetta Gladiators end drought
The 2019 champions defeated Multan Sultans by 22 runs in Karachi
Opener Usman Khan played a match-winning hand on debut and Afghan leg-spinner Qais Ahmad starred with the ball to end Quetta Gladiators’ drought in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Wednesday night.
The 25-year-old Usman clubbed a half-century, while Ahmad snapped up three wickets as the 2019 champions defeated Multan Sultans by 22 runs in Karachi. Sarfaraz Ahmed’s team finally opened their account in this edition after the two-time runners-up had been winless over four games.
Told to take the first dig, the Quetta Gladiators mustered 176 for seven on the back of Usman’s 81 from 50 deliveries, which was spiced with 10 boundaries and three sixes. Shahnawaz Dhani, the Sultans’ 22-year-old medium pacer, took 3-44 while South African veteran leg spinner Imran Tahir picked 2-29.
Skipper Mohammad Rizwan had kept Sultans in the chase with a defiant 66 from 50 balls with seven fours and two sixes. They were 116 for 15 overs with 61 required from 30 deliveries, with Rizwan on a 45-ball 63 and Khushdil Shah on 13 from eight. But the Gladiators bowlers responded in fine style as the Sultans lost their way.
It also bucked the trend of teams chasing and winning following 13 consecutive victories in this edition. “We need to improve in the field,” Rizwan said at the post-match presentation.
“We gave away at least 10-15 runs in the field, and that’s a huge amount of runs in T20 cricket. We are struggling to build partnerships in the middle order, but Qais and (Mohammad) Nawaz bowled brilliantly and stifled our momentum,” he added.
Quetta Gladiators: 176-7 in 20 overs (Usman Khan 81, Saim Ayub 23, Mohammad Nawaz 20, Azam Khan 17, Faf du Plessis 17, Shahnawaz Dhani 3-44, Imran Tahir 2-29) beat Multan Sultans: 154 all out in 19.4 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 66, James Vince 24, Khushdil Shah 19, Imran Tahir 14, Qais Ahmad 3-21, Mohammad Hasnain 2-34, Zahid Mahmood 2-39) by 22 runs.
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