Ahmed Shahzad struck a fine half-century to put Quetta Gladiators in driving seat as they beat Peshawar Zalmi by eight wickets to lift the coveted title of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season four in front of packed National Stadium Karachi on Sunday. Ahmed Shahzad smashed 54 runs including six boundaries and a six to help Gladiators finish the things well for them this time around. He has also become the second Pakistani batsman to score a half-century in a final match of the tournament.
Earlier, Mohammad Husnain took two wickets to take Gladiators on high as they restricted Zalmi to 138-8. While batting first, Zalmi didn’t start off well with their openers failing to give them an edge over opponents. Husnain got rid of Imam-ul-Haq with a straighter delivery to reduce Zalmi to 4-1. The left-handed batsman gave a simple catch at deep mid-off after scoring just three runs.
Kamran Akmal also failed to carry the momentum as he fell to Mohammad Nawaz who pitched the ball up to deceive the right-handed batsman. Kamran was looking to smash the ball but couldn’t make the most of it and the ball went straight to hit the stumps. He managed to score just 21 runs off 15 balls.
Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Amin then carried the inning for Zalmi by putting up 31 runs for the third wicket. Bravo broke the partnership bagging Sohaib on a slower full toss. He scored 20 runs with the help of just three boundaries. Husnain picked up his third wicket by getting Umar out after he made 38 off 33 balls.
Darren Sammy fought hard in the end by scoring 18 runs but tight bowling from Gladiators stopped the skipper of Zalmi to hit big shots. Apart from Husnain, Dwayne Bravo bagged two wickets while Mohammad Nawaz and Fawad Ahmed took a wicket each.
In reply, Gladiators lost their opener, Shane Watson, earlier when Umar Amin got him run out by hitting the ball to the stumps cleverly. Thereafter, Ahsan Ali and Ahmed Shahzad put 45 runs together on the scoreboard for the second wicket to help Gladiators dominate the match.
Wahab Riaz’s bouncer did the work for Zalmi as Ahsan got caught after edging the ball high up in the sky. He made 25 runs off 18 balls. Shehzad and Rilee Rossouw, in the end, scored a match-winning partnership of 73 runs to steer Gladiators to win their first title of the tournament. Rossouw blasted his way to scoring 37 runs off 29 balls with the help of five boundaries. Wahab was the only wicket-taker for Zalm. He conceded 19 runs in his four overs spell.