DUBAI: Shane Watson and Ahmed Shehzad knocked solid half centuries to help Quetta Gladiators become the first team to qualify for the HBL PSL play-offs with a comfortable eight wicket win over arch-rivals Peshawar Zalmi in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Watson smashed six sixes and as many boundaries in his undefeated 55-ball 91 not out while Shehzad cracked five boundaries in his 45-ball 50 as Quetta overhauled 166-run target in 17.4 overs.
Kamran Akmal cracked 50-ball 72 with seven boundaries and four sixes to help Peshawar to 165-4 in their 20 overs after they were put into bat.
With the victory — their sixth in 12 games against Peshawar — Quetta qualified for the play-offs. They have with six wins in eight games and 12 points.
Peshawar are second with ten points in eight matches, having won five and losing three.
Islamabad United are third with four wins and as many losses in eight games while Lahore Qalandars are fourth with six points (three wins and four losses). Karachi Kings, who play Multan Sultans later Monday, are fifth (three wins, four losses in seven matches) are fifth and Multan are sixth with two wins and six losses in eight matches.
Quetta captain Sarfraz Ahmed was happy with his team’s progress.
“We have done well so its great to be in the play-offs,” said Sarfraz. “We try to keep the opponents to totals which we can chase and great to see Shane and Ahmed play so well.”
Peshawar skipper Darren Sammy said his bowlers had an off day. “Yes, tough game. I think bowlers had an off day and they did not bowl as we have wanted,” said Sammy.
Watson and Shehzad added a match winning 129 runs for the second wicket as a formidable Peshawar pace attack found wickets hard to come by after Sameen Gul trapped Ahsan Ali for just one.
When Shehzad was dismissed, bowled by Umaid Asif, Quetta needed only 29 for victory. Rilee Rossouw gave Watson good company during his four-ball 12 with one six and a boundary.
Peshawar’s Hasan Ali failed to get a wicket after his 18 wickets made him the highest wicket-taker in the league.
When Peshawar batted they were given a brisk start of 38 by Kamran and Andre Fletcher who made 28-ball 26 with two fours and a six. But once Kamran was dismissed only Kieron Pollard found the scoring fast, smashing 21-ball 44 not out with seven fours and a six.
Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi by eight wickets.