LAHORE: An all-around performance of Peshawar Zalmi helped to overcome Will Smeed’s sensational 99-run knock to beat Quetta Gladiators by 24 runs in the crucial 22nd match of Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing a huge 186-run target, Gladiators batters failed to play a huge knock with Jason Roy departing for 13, James Vince got out for a duck. Apart from Smeed, it was Sarfraz Ahmed who scored 25 and forged a 53-run stand with Smeed.
Iftikhar Ahmed scored 10, while Umar Akmal managed to score just one as Smeed remained the difference between the two teams as his miraculous knock almost pulled off a stunning win.
Smeed continued his hard-hitting by smashing the Zalmi bowlers to all parts of the park by hitting three sixes and 12 fours in a 60-ball knock.
He took the game deep as the 17th over of Salman Irshad was going well with two fours, but the turning point came when Salman took his wicket on the last ball of his over as Smeed remained just one run shy of a much deserving century.
After his departure, all the hopes for Quetta dashed as Zalmi bowlers easily defended the runs.
For Zalmi, leggie Usman Qadir was the pick of the bowler with brilliant figures of 3-25 in four overs. Liam Livingstone picked 1-24 in four overs, while Wahab, Talat, and Slaman also took one scalp each.
Earlier, Zalmi handed a 185-run total for the loss of seven wickets in 20 overs courtesy of Shoaib Malik and Hussain Talat’s fifties and late hitting by Ben Cutting in a fiery 36-run knock.
Zalmi skipper Wahab Riaz had won the toss and elected to bat first, but Quetta’s pacer Naseem Shah did the early damage with two wickets in one over of Hazratullah Zazai and Liam Livingstone to leave Zalmi at 2-6.
Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Haris forged a 52-run stand to hold the inning, while Malik showed his class and experience during the 58 run inning of 41 balls with eight fours. He also laid a good 73-run stand with Hussain Talat who also played well.
While in the late over, Cutting launched an onslaught with four sixes and one four in a blistering 36 run inning off just 14 balls.
Naseem was brilliant with the bowl as he registered figures of 4-27 in four overs, Shahzad, Iftikhar, and Mudassar took one scalp each.
The teams aim at removing ifs and buts from their way to the playoffs of the ongoing tournament.
Both the teams have six points from seven games each, but Gladiators are ahead of Zalmi based on net run rate (NRR) and currently placed at the fourth position in the points table.
The Zalmi would start the game with a win on their back as they had defeated Karachi Kings in their last match while Gladiators were outclassed by Lahore Qalandars in their last game played at Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium.