All-round Watson steers Quetta Gladiators into third PSL Final

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s Shane Watson who can deliver the goods when it matters the most. The former Australian Cricketer who came to Pakistan after 14 years, after missing the last two Pakistan legs of PSL, did the trick for Quetta Gladiators in the all-important Qualifying match of the Pakistan Super League at National Stadium Karachi.

It was Shane Watson’s 43-ball 71 runs that set the pace of a huge total for Quetta Gladiators who ended the first innings at 186 runs for the loss of 6 wickets. Later, it was his magical final over that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as he defended 21 runs off six balls and gave away just 10, taking the all-important wicket of Kieron Pollard, running out Darren Sammy and restricting Zalmis for 176 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.

Apart from Watson, the Quetta Gladiators must also be thankful to Ahsan Ali who added 111 runs for the second wicket with the veteran, ending up with an impressive 46 off 32 balls. As for the favorite Zalmi team, only Pollard and Sammy showed resistance against the Gladiators as the rest including the veteran Misbah ul Haq were dismissed cheaply.

There was an incident involving Australian leg spinner Fawad Ahmed who ended up in hospital after he was hit on the face by Imam ul Haq. It was because of his injury that Shane Watson had to step in and do a Steve Waugh for the winning side.

Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard may not have won the match with their 38-ball 83 runs sixth wicket partnership but they won over the fans and showed them that they still can create magic with the bat. It was only in the penultimate over bowled by Dwayne Bravo that they slowed down otherwise the way they were going, Quetta Gladiators would have out of the match in the 19th over.

With the 10-run win, Quetta Gladiators have reached the final of the tournament for the third time in four years; they are yet to win the title despite being the best team in their followers’ eyes. With Shane Watson in their ranks, they might actually end up with the trophy if they play to the best of their potential. For Peshawar Zalmi, Darren Sammy’s team will now have to wait till Friday because that’s the day they will face the winner of Karachi Kings vs Islamabad United Eliminator.

 

 

Omair Alavi

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