Australian opener Shane Watson put in yet another match-winning effort as Quetta Gladiators overpowered Peshawar Zalmi to go to the top of PSL 2019 table in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Set a stiff target of 166, Watson took it upon himself to keep a strong Peshawar pace attack at bay as he scored an unbeaten 91 off just 55 balls with six fours and an equal number of maximums to seal an eight-wicket win with more than two overs to spare. Quetta now top the PSL table with six wins from eight games and have qualified for the playoffs.
Ahmed Shehzad did his part by making 50 off 45 balls but it was Watson who paced the chase expertly. The Australian veteran opener knew keeping wickets in hand will be crucial in the closing stages and even when the equation went up to 50 from 36 balls, Watson didn’t panic.
While fellow partner Shehzad was going at just about run a ball, Watson took charge. He picked the perfect moment to transfer pressure on to Peshawar, sending pacer Wahab Riaz down the ground for a six in the 15th over to bring the required rate down to manageable level.
The first ball of the 16th over bowled by Umaid Asif went for five wides and the result became a formality thereafter.
SIX! Another maximum from the bat of @ShaneRWatson33 (87) and it is only a matter of time now. @WahabViki is on the receiving end of this one— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 4, 2019
Watch ball-by-ball highlights: https://t.co/dihheBbDr4 #QGvPZ #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/pyst2iTZn3
The defining shot of the match came in the 18th over with Quetta needing 14 from 18 balls. Watson jammed out a yorker bowled from round the stumps by Wahab and the ball somehow sailed over point for a six. That was game, set and match.
Earlier, Peshawar wicketkeeper batsman Karman Akmal made only his second meaningful contribution of the campaign as he hit 72 from 50 balls with seven fours and four sixes. It was down to Peshawar in-form hitter Kieron Pollard to provide the impetus with the bat once again as he hit an unbeaten 44 from 21 balls.
Quetta left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz was the best bowler on either side as he went for 24 runs in his four overs and picked up the wicket of Andre Fletcher.
Peshawar Zalmi: 165-4
Kamran Akmal: 72
Mohammad Nawaz: 1-24
Quetta Gladiators: 166-2 in 17.4 overs
Shane Watson: 91*
Ahmed Shehzad: 50
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