Wahab Riaz. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The 18th match of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) saw the Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators locking horns in Rawalpindi. The rain continued to play spoilsport in the city and eventually, the encounter was reduced to 15 overs per side and both teams entertained the crowd with some exceptional hitting over the course of 30 overs. It was the Zalmi who came up trump in the end as the Gladiators failed to chase down a mammoth total of 171.

Earlier, Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and invited Zalmi to bat first even as the latter lost their opener Imam -ul-Haq early in the second over itself. However, Kamran Akmal got to 23 off just 12 deliveries to give a boost to his team at the start. The good work was continued by Haider Ali and the veteran Shoaib Malik as the duo added 54 runs for the third wicket.

The former scored 39 off 24 balls before Mohammad Hasnain sent him packing and from here on, Malik took charge of the proceedings. He smacked 54 off just 27 balls with eight fours and a six before getting out in the 13th over. However, the final boost to the score was given by Lewis Gregory who smashed an unbeaten 19 off just 8 balls to propel Peshawar Zalmi to 170/6 after 15 overs.

Hasnain was the only shining light for the Gladiators who returned with four wickets for 34 runs in his three overs while Sohail Khan and Ben Cutting scalped a wicket each.

Wahab Riaz breaks the back of the chase

The Gladiators needed their openers Jason Roy and Shane Watson and the duo did just the same. They added 45 runs for the opening wicket in less than five overs Hasan Ali got the better of the latter. Roy, meanwhile, was timing the ball beautifully at the other end. Ahmed Shehzad struggled to even rotate the strike but the England international didn’t let the run-flow stem.

Roy scored 45 off just 26 deliveries and was bluffed by Yasir Shah who castled the batsman. Shehzad’s travails ended after wasting 17 balls for just 10 runs and since’s Roy’s dismissal, there was no momentum to the Gladiators’ chase. Ben Cutting and Mohammad Nawaz entertained for a brief period but there were left with a little too much to do.

Wahab Riaz and Rahat Ali didn’t let the middle-order cut loose in the death overs. They returned with the figures of 3/21 and 2/34 in their respective three-over spells as the Gladiators could only reach 140/7 in 15 overs. This loss will hurt the defending champions as they are now at the fifth position with six points after 7 matches. The Zalmi, on the other hand, climbed to third place after this victory.

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