The toss was won by Karachi Kings and they went for the batting versus Quetta Gladiators, who confronted an impossible mission to qualify for the semi-finals. Earlier today Lahore Qalandars chased down 187 runs target to enter in semi-finals. Therefore, only a miracle was needed to help Quetta displace Zalmis for the last spot in the top four.
Babar Azam replaced Imad Wasim as captain of Kings today Some key players were handed rest for the game and Ali Khan got his first chance to play in the tournament. Quetta, though, was reinforced by the comeback of fast-bowler Naseem Shah from his injury. Ben Cutting, Shane Watson, and Fawad Ahmed were the foreign players playing for Quetta.
Karachi started the batting with Babar Azam, who is surely the finest T20I batsman, but still, he wasn’t able to push Gladiators’ bowlers away. He played 15 dots in his innings of 32 off 34 balls and was caught at long-off to end his innings. Nevertheless, Delport played pretty well and showed his class after a poor start by Karachi. He specifically targeted Ahmed, hitting 16-ball 22 runs. But his reverse shot against Sohail was shot of the day. He scored a half-century with a total of 62 runs off 44 balls and ultimately fell prey to the brilliance of youngster Muhammad Husnain. Karachi Kings reached the 100 runs milestone in 15th over with a low run rate. Walton also played a fine inning and scored 26 off 20 deliveries. Even with the wickets in hand, Karachi was not able to set a high target for the opponent team yet defendable. Their slow blows were vital to Karachi scoring 150.
Naseem Shah today joined the game after recovering from the injury of his ankle. The 17-year old youngster on his second ball struck the wicket of Sharjeel Khan at zero runs. His delivery was recorded for 145.5 kph and bowled 4-overs with the economy of 4.25. He along with Sohail Khan didn’t let the Karachi’s skipper settle properly on the crease for a longer inning today. Sohail picked up the wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed to left Karachi stunned at 36 for 2 in the powerplay.
Quetta batting was exceptional today but useless as they were out of the tournament even after winning the match. However, Ahmed Shehzad was nicked off the second ball by Waqas Mehmood and sent back to the bench, while Manzoor, who was playing his first match of the season, burst out some solid boundaries to every bowler in the first six overs. 8 out of 11 boundaries were his for Quetta Gladiators in the powerplay.
Shane Watson then slashed Iqbal for two consecutive sixes and four in the ninth over, as he was challenging Manzoor for the man of the match and nearly outscored him. Khurram Manzoor and Shane Watson jointly scored 118 runs off only 65 balls. Both of them scored the fifties as well. This partnership is the highest stand by any pair in the Quetta Gladiator team this season but all of this went in vain as it wasn't sufficient for Quetta to qualify for the semi-finals. Quetta needed 151 runs only in 3.2 overs to get to the fourth spot by displacing Peshawar Zalmi. That’s quite a miraculous task to achieve.
Meanwhile, Watson moves to number six in the top six-hitters of PSL history. Then, from 1 down at 118 to 5 down for 139, Quetta slide quickly. Shane Watson was caught on mid-on to Babar Azam by Arshad Iqbal while Khurram Manzoor fell prey to the bowling of Waqas and was caught at deep mid-wicket to Usama Mir. The Skipper then joined the pitch for a short time span. He was caught out behind the wicket by Keeper Walton. Quetta’s skipper couldn’t manage to play an impressive inning throughout the season and flopped this too. A lot of expectations from Quetta were failed this season. Later on, Mohammad Nawaz and Azam Khan hauled them home in 16.2 overs and exit the tournament with a bit of comfort after not winning a single of the last 5 games.
Karachi though lost the match but retains its position at the table on 2nd spot and now it will play against Lahore Qalandars in the semi-final in Qaddafi Stadium.