Kamran Akmal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Quetta Gladiators were fresh from their victory in the opening game against the Islamabad United. But the defending champions couldn’t hold on to their momentum against the Peshawar Zalmi in Karachi. Sarfaraz Ahmed and Co went down at the National Stadium by six wickets. Kamran Akmal notched his sixth T20 century helped the Zalmi register first points in the 2020 edition of the PSL.

Roy shoulders the Gladiators

The Gladiators, after being put in to bat first, couldn’t up the ante at any stage of their innings. Shane Watson’s travails continued as Wahab Riaz got rid of him. 18-year-old Amir Khan accounted for Ahmed Shehzad’s wicket. From there, it was Jason Roy and Sarfaraz Ahmed’s 62-run stand that injected some momentum for the Gladiators. Roy made amends after his duck in the opener.

He got to his fifty off 40 balls and went on to score an unbeaten 73 off 57 with six fours and a six. Sarfaraz looked fluent, contributing 41 off 25 balls. Barring the duo, none of the batters looked at ease. In the end, they managed an under-par 148. For the Zalmi, Riaz was the standout with two scalps. Hasan Ali also made a comeback with an economy of 5.50, though he couldn’t get a wicket.

Akmal switches on demolition mode

The Zalmi’s run-chase was mostly about Kamran Akmal. The opener threw the kitchen sink at everything right from the outset and never allowed any pressure to build. On the back of his audacious stroke-play, Peshawar managed 69 runs in the powerplay. He notched his fifty off 20 balls and kept the Gladiators’ bowlers at bay. The 19-year-old Haider Ali lent him support with 25 runs.

Akmal got to his century off 54 balls, but couldn’t see his team through. Fawad Ahmed nipped him out in the 17th over with seven runs needed. Kamran went on to score 101 off 55 with the help of 13 fours and four sixes. Though the Zalmi lost a few late wickets, it wasn’t enough for the Gladiators to stage a comeback. The Quetta innings slowed down a wee bit, but the team won with nine balls left.

Here’s how Twitterati lauded Kamran and the Zalmi: –