DUBAI: Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi scored a quickfire 30 off 12 balls to help his side Quetta Gladiators chase down a mammoth 201 posted by Lahore Qalandars at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Gladiators made 203-8 in 20 overs. In response to Qalandars’ first innings total, Gladiators run-chase heavily relied on some power hitting by their opening batsman Bismillah Khan and Kevin Pietersen as they reached 107-3 in just 10 overs.
The Quetta-born Bismillah scored 55 runs off 30 balls in an innings which included 10 fours and a six. This was Bismillah’s first outing at the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and was declared the Man of the Match.
Bismillah was supported by the England international Pietersen, who scored 34 runs off 21 deliveries hitting six fours.
Ahmed Shehzad was the first batsman to depart on four for Gladiators. Later, Kumar Sangakkara (37) and Sarfraz Ahmed (21) took the innings forward, but both of them were dismissed in quick succession by Ehsan Adil.
Adil remained the pick of bowlers of Qalandars with figures 4-0-39-4, but couldn’t finish things off for his team as Zohaib Khan failed to defend 15 runs required from the last over.
Dwayne Bravo also chipped in by claiming three wickets, whereas Kevon Cooper ended up with one.
Earlier, Skipper Azhar Ali, Chris Gayle and Umar Akmal scored half-centuries to lead Qalandars’ innings. Azhar top scored 61, Gayle 60 and Akmal unbeaten 55 as Qalandars made 201 runs for the lost of two wickets.
Qalandars’ innings relied on a solid 100-run opening stand between skipper Azhar and Gayle in just 10 overs, which provided opportunity for the batsmen coming down the order to aim for a big total.
During the death overs, Akmal was joined by Bravo (20) to establish an unbeaten 59-run stand for the third wicket, after Azhar was dismissed in the 16th over.
Gladiators hoped to make a comeback after a claiming a crucial Gayle wicket in the 11th over but couldn’t stop a fiery Akmal from smashing the ball all over the ground as he hit four fours and four sixes in his 25-ball knock.
Grant Elliott and Zulfiqar Babar claimed a wicket each for Gladiators after their skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and decided to field first.