Quetta stroll to victory, clinch playoff spot

Ahmed Shehzad

Quetta Gladiators have become the first team to qualify for the playoffs in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), as they beat Karachi Kings by 6 wickets at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday (February 24).

Chasing a modest 155 to win, Gladiators comfortably strolled to victory as they hunted down their target with an over to spare. Asad Shafiq(51) and Ahmed Shahzad(54) combined for an opening stand of 105 runs — their highest in the brief history of the PSL — to lay a foundation for the rest of the firepower. Though, both of them were accounted by Sohail Khan in his 12th over.

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Kevin Pietersen walked out to earn another golden duck of the PSL, as he inattentively left his crease to seek an impossible run. Rile Rossouw looked out of touch against spin bowling with his several plays-and-misses, and finally fell to Usama Mir when he skied one to hand Sangakkara a regulation catch.

But the remaining deficit of 13 was never going to be enough for Karachi to make a late comeback into the contest, as Sarfraz and Mahmudullah sealed Quetta home with 6 deliveries to spare.

Earlier, Karachi Kings started off well after losing the toss as they put up 63 in just 7.5 overs. Sangakkara(28) and Babar Azam(36) laid a strong base for the rest of the batters to follow, however, the middle order failed to provide any momentum to the run flow courtesy some restrictive bowling display by Gladiators, especially Mahmudullah who earned figures of 3 for 21.

Kieron Pollard’s quickfire 31 and Imad Wasim’s six off the only ball he faced provided Kings with a bit of late flourish, as they managed 154 for 6 in their allotted 20 overs.

With this win, Quetta has now stretched their lead with 9 points and also qualified for the next round of play.