'Walking wounded' Sammy the hero in Peshawar Zalmi's thrilling victory
Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy celebrates after hitting the winning runs against the Quetta Gladiators at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday night.
Sharjah - The West Indian had busted his knee while bowling but turned the match around with a brilliant cameo
Darren Sammy can now be called a 'Khan.'
The jovial West Indian, a walking wounded after having busted his right knee while bowling, showed Pathan-like qualities to nick a thriller against the Quetta Gladiators and infuse life into Peshawar Zalmi's title defence of the HBL Pakistan Super League.
Hobbling in at No.7 and with the game heading down the wire, the two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain smoked two sixes and a boundary from four deliveries to sneak Peshawar Zalmi home, with five wickets and two balls to spare, just before midnight, on Thursday.
Until then, Zalmi's innings had almost mirrored that of the Quetta Gladiators at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium as they were in it and, sometimes, not in it.
Until, Sammy arrived.
Peshawar Zalmi had arrived in Sharjah, well rested and recovered after their exertions in Dubai, while the Quetta Gladiators were playing for the second consecutive night.
Quetta Gladiators made one change to their line-up, bringing in Rilee Rossouw for Mahmudullah, while leg spinner Ibtisam Sheikh made way for fellow 19-year-old pacer Sameen Gul, for Peshawar Zalmi.
Peshawar Zalmi made two further changes to their line-up with Sabbir Rahman coming in for Chris Jordan and Khalid Usman, who turned 32 on Thursday, taking the place of Haris Sohail. Sohail had fractured his finger during a practice session at the ICC Cricket Academy on Tuesday.
It was a stop-start innings from Quetta after being inserted in by Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy.
After the early hiccup of losing opener Asad Shafiq, Quetta rolled along nicely with the other opener Shane Watson and one-down Umar Amin adding 50 runs for the second wicket.
But they stuttered a bit thereafter with Amin falling to the medium pace of Sammy and Usman cutting short Watson's innings just as the Australian was nearing a half-century.
Kevin Pietersen, who hit form the other night with a 34-ball 48, was to follow soon enough, becoming Sammy's second victim of the night, before the West Indian limped off the field with a knee injury.
Mohammad Hafeez stood in and took the reins from Sammy.
There were neat cameos from Rossouw, who struck 37 from 25 balls with a couple of boundaries and sixes, and captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who made 17 from 15 balls, as Quetta managed to muster 141 for the loss of eight wickets.
Old warhorse Wahab Riaz, who had sent Sarfraz's off-stump for a walk, had tidy figures of 2 for 16 from his four overs. Umaid Asif too returned with two wickets, conceding 18 runs.
Friday sees the first double-header in Sharjah with the Multan Sultans running into the unbeaten Karachi Kings, first up, followed by the Lahore Qalandars vs Islamabad United fixture.
Quetta Gladiators: 141 for 8 in 20 overs (Shane Watson 47, Rilee Rossouw 37, Sarfraz Ahmed 17, Wahab Riaz 2-16, Umaid Asif 2-18, Darren Sammy 2-21) lost to Peshawar Zalmi: 143 for 5 in 19.4 overs (Tamim Iqbal 36, Mohammad Hafeez 29, Dwayne Smith 23, Darren Sammy 16 not out) by 5 wickets.
Man of the Match: Darren Sammy (Peshawar Zalmi).