Quetta Gladiators won a crucial, low-scoring showdown against Lahore Qalandars at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in the 23rd game of the Pakistan Super League.
With not a single batsman on either side being able to score a half-century, bowlers took charge to reduce the sides to a meagre total.
In the first innings, Quetta Gladiator finished with a below-par total of 158/5.
Considering the recent record of the Dubai track, it seemed like Lahore Qalandars would chase it down with many overs left, but the Gladiators were poised to taste victory.
Perhaps, for the first time this season, the Gladiators pace cartel stood tall to contain the opposition.
Usman Shinwari and Khurram Shehzad picked three wickets each to dismantle the Qalandars’ batting line-up.
They managed to win Quetta the game by 18 runs as Lahore were all out for 140.
Azam Khan falters again
Azam Khan has been struggling in converting good starts into a fifty or more.
The right-handed power hitter has faltered in odd 20s and 30s at times when the team needs him the most.
He scored quickfire 33 off 18 tonight but fell to James Faulkner.
Had he prolonged his stay with Quetta captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Gladiators may have put up a bigger total.
Haris Rauf too costly for Lahore
Lahore were doing everything right with the ball until Haris Rauf spoiled the night.
The right-arm pacer conceded eight boundaries to end up with 0-44 in his quota of four overs.
His poor spell let the Gladiators get runs at a crucial stage whereas the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi and James Faulkner had kept them on the backfoot.
Quetta Gladiators 158 for 5 (Weatherald 48, Sarfaraz 34*, Faulkner 3-25) beat Lahore Qalandars 140 (David 46, Shahzad 3-14, Shinwari 3-32) by 18 runs.
Preview: Multan Sultans vs Quetta Gladiators
Mohammad Rizwan-led Multan Sultans are likely to clinch an easy win over Quetta Gladiators as Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men have failed to make it big in 2021.
The Gladiators have failed to live up to their hype in the Duba-leg of the tournament.
They started the second phase ranked at the bottom of the points table, and still languish at the sixth spot.
Probable best performer
Rizwan has been a class apart with the bat.
He is the second-highest run-getter in the tournament, just behind Babar Azam, with 408 runs in seven matches.
The Sultans captain and wicket-keeper averages just over 68 in the league and has been finding the middle of the bat more often.
Rizwan is expected to pile up crucial runs against Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men as well in the Wednesday showdown.
Multan Sultans haven’t been at their best, but have done just enough to outscore Quetta Gladiators.
This will be a must-win contest for Sarfaraz’s side if they want to cement a spot in the playoffs.
However, their worsening form is likely to hold them back against Multan.
Multan would be poised to get a win as well, but two points ahead of the Gladiators have paved an easier way for them.
Nonetheless, the Sultans are the probable winners of Wednesday’s game.