Quetta Gladiators make it to the final with Watson’s heroics

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Shane Watson defended 21 runs in last over when Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard were at the crease and led Quetta Gladiators to notch a 10-run victory over Peshawar Zalmi to reach the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for the third time.

Pollard and Sammy scored 83 runs for the sixth wicket to put a good fight in front of a packed stadium in Karachi.

Shane Watson earlier smashed 71 runs off just 43 balls to inspire Gladiators to post a mammoth total of 187-6 in allotted 20 overs.

Watson and Ahsan Ali (46) put 111 runs partnership on the scoreboard as Gladiators were dominating the situation by reaching 100-1 in just 10 overs.

Zalmi were on top as their pacer Tymal Mills got rid of Ahmed Shahzad thrashing the stumps with a perfect yorker. Shahzad, who fell just one run short to his century in their last match against Quetta Gladiators, made just 14 runs.

Thereafter, Watson did the major work for his team smashing the ball all around the park and amused the fans with the power-pack show. Despite losing an early wicket, Watson didn’t take any pressure and his magnificent knock included five hits to fence and six maximums.

Later in the match when Gladiators were dominating, Wahab Riaz came to ball and created a twist getting the danger man Watson out with the length delivery on the middle stump. Watson missed the ball completely as it went straight to thrash the stumps.

Sameen Gul then trapped the ball in the legs of well-set Ahsan Ali as he got LBW. Ahsan tried to get a review but his partner Rossouw thought it was a clean decision. Ahsan made 46 and a worthy contribution with Watson to give a strong start to his team.

Umar Akmal played a cameo of 22 runs to further strengthen the total of the men in purple.

Wahab Riaz bagged two crucial wickets while apart from Dawson Hasan Ali, Tymal Mills, Sameen Gul and Kieron Pollard bagged a wicket each.

In reply, Zalmi were off to a slow start but their openers Kamran Akmal and Imam-ul-Haq looked under control. An opening partnership of 41 runs was broken when Rilee Rossouw ran on his right to take a well-judged catch to remove the man in-from Kamran Akmal who made 22 runs.

Mohammad Nawaz caught a blistering catch of his own bowling to dismiss Sohaib Maqsood who was struggling a bit. This wicket reduced Zalmi to 55-2.

Part-time spinner Rilee Rossouw surprised the crowd by taking the wicket of Imam-ul-Haq. He kept the ball tight and straight and it went straight to hit the stumps. Rossouw was completing the over of Fawad Ahmed who got injured.

Yet another part-time bowler Ahsan Ali took Dawson at long-on to further boost the morale of Gladiators who are reading from the front. He made just five runs.

Pollard and Sammy at once stage were taking the match away from the opponents but Sarfraz cleverly used his bowlers to save the match. Watson, who bowled after four months, made the game for Gladiators.

Sammy scored 46 runs while Pollard played well scoring 44 runs with the help of six boundaries and a six.

Mohammad Husnain was the highest wicket-taker for Gladiators as he finished with the figures of 2-28.

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