Gladiators shock Qalandars in low-scoring thrillerArchive
DUBAI: Quetta Gladiators continued from where they had left off in the inaugural HBL Pakistan Super League when this never-say-die team of resilient cricketers pulled off a sensational eight-run victory over star-studded Lahore Qalandars in Dubai on Friday.
Runners-up to Islamabad United in 2016, Quetta produced tremendous teamwork to defend a modest total of 136-9 by bowling out the high-spending Lahore for 128.
Emerging talent of Pakistan U-19 all-rounder Mohammad Hassaan Khan did the tricks for the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side when it seemed Lahore would rollercoaster to a certain cakewalk win at the Dubai international Cricket Stadium.
Compared to first season when they were the biggest disappointment with a bottom-finish ranking, Lahore underwent a major surgery which resulted in overhaul of the squad on mass scale with as many as 14 new signings, including retired New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and the big-hitting England limited-overs opener Jason Roy.
Lahore began their chase as if they had a train to catch. Roy set the tone by striking five boundaries and one six in quick time. Spinner Zulfiqar Babar then struck in successive overs to send back the dangerous Roy and McCullum.
The loss of those wickets brought another very soon as Umar Akmal departed without scoring, holing out to mid-on off Anwar Ali.
Hassaan, an exponent of left-arm spin, left Quetta mentor Sir Vivian Richards dancing in delight by trapping Mohammad Rizwan with his very first ball on the PSL platform.
Fakhar Zaman’s debut then ended by a run out and when Mohammad Nawaz cleaned up Sohail Tanvir, the Gladiators had taken control.
Grant Elliott, who was on Gladiators’ payroll, served his new franchise quite well as the ex-New Zealand all-rounder put on 40 for the seventh wicket with Sunil Narine. Each of them scored 26 with Narine’s 15-ball cameo featuring three sixes.
Nawaz broke the partnership when Elliott lost his middle stump with the score on 117. Thisara Perera, another new man in Quetta squad, ran out Bilawal Bhatti with a brilliant throw but the death knell was provided by Tymal Mills who won a LBW verdict against Narine on the very next ball.
Hassaan, appropriately enough, took the final wicket by taking a high-pressure catch off his own bowling to trigger jubilant scenes in the Quetta dugout.
Earlier, Rilee Rossouw marked his PSL debut with a priceless knock of 60 from 47 balls. Arriving after early losses of Ahmed Shehzad and Kevin Pietersen, the former South African left-hander held together the innings until he was eight out after hitting three boundaries and two sixes.
The dismissal of Pietersen was disappointing when the ex-England skipper charged aimlessly at Mohammad Irfan — a lanky 21-year-old right-arm paceman from Nankana Sahib and a new signing for Lahore — edged the ball onto the stumps.
Rossouw got great support from young Hassaan, who bats right-handed, as the pair stitched together a partnership of 45 — the highest of the match.
Hassaan, who scored 16 off 11 balls before taking those crucial wickets, was named man-of-the-match.
Asad Shafiq b Narine 29 Ahmed Shehzad c Rizwan b Sohail 5 K.P. Pietersen b Irfan 3 R.R. Rossouw c Umar b Irfan 60 Sarfraz Ahmed b Narine 1 Mohammad Nawaz run out 1 N.L.T.C. Perera c Bilawal b Yasir 12 Hassaan Khan c Roy b Sohail 16 Anwar Ali not out 3 T.S. Mills lbw b Irfan 0
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-4) 6
TOTAL (for nine wkts, 20 overs) 136
FALL OF WKTS: 1-14, 2-22, 3-51, 4-54, 5-56, 6-83, 7-128, 8-133, 9-136.
DID NOT BAT: Zulfiqar Babar.
BOWLING: Sohail Tanvir 4-0-24-2; Mohammad Irfan 4-0-26-3 (1w); Narine 4-0-16-2 (1w); Bilawal Bhatti 2-0-17-0 (1w); Yasir Shah 4-0-32-1; Elliott 2-0-19-0.
J.J. Roy b Zulfiqar 27 B.B. McCullum c Perera b Zulfiqar 20 Fakhar Zaman run out 11 Umar Akmal c Perera b Anwar 0 Mohammad Rizwan lbw b Hassaan 5 G.D. Elliott b Nawaz 26 Sohail Tanvir b Nawaz 5 S.P. Narine lbw b Mills 26 Bilawal Bhatti run out 1 Yasir Shah c and b Hassaan 1 Mohammad Irfan not out 3
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-1) 3
TOTAL (all out, 18.4 overs) 128
FALL OF WKTS: 1-34, 2-49, 3-50, 4-60, 5-68, 6-77, 7-117, 8-124, 9-124.
BOWLING: Zulfiqar Babar 4-0-31-2; Mills 4-0-31-1 (1w); Anwar Ali 1-0-8-1; Mohammad Nawaz 4-0-19-2; Hassaan Khan 2.4-0-10-2; Perera 3-027-0.
RESULT: Quetta Gladiators.
UMPIRES: Shozab Raza and Rashid Riaz.
TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza.
MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Anees.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Hassaan Khan.
Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2017