Kevin Pietersen led from the front with a match-winning 42-ball 88 as Quetta Gladiators beat Lahore Qalandars by 5 wickets in the Pakistan Super League on Saturday. Batting first, Lahore Qalandars had put up 200 in the stipulated overs with Jason Roy top-scoring with 51 off 27 balls. Fakhar Zaman (47 off 31 balls) and ‘keeper Mohammad Rizwan (46 off 28 balls) played their part well before a late cameo by Cameron Delport (35 off 21 balls) helped his side reach the 200-mark. It was a sluggish start by the Gladiators as their openers Ahmed Shehzad (15 off 15 balls) and Saad Nasim (5 off 6 balls) were held to a disciplined bowling attack in the powerplay overs by the likes of Sohail Tanvir, Sunil Narine and Mohammad Irfan. By the time they two headed back, the asking rate was at a staggering 11.5 runs per over. But Pietersen, who had been out to golden ducks in his previous two innings, and Rilee Rossouw made short work of the chase as they took charge and plundered the fancied bowling line-up. While Rossouw hit three boundaries and two sixes to score a quickfire 18-ball 33, Pietersen’s knock was laced with eight gigantic sixes and three boundaries. He picked up 39 runs off his last nine balls, including launching Irfan for four sixes in the 18th over. Coming lower down the order, captain Sarfraz Ahmed (45 off 25 balls) was instrumental too as he hit three sixes and as many fours to help Pietersen from the other end. When he fell, Gladiators were still 11 runs away from victory but Anwar Ali took three balls to scale the target with seven balls to spare.
Islamabad United skipper Misbah Ul Haq in action during the Pakistan Super League. (PSL). In contrast to the other match of the day, Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi played out a low-scoring thriller, as the tie went down to a last-ball drama with Islamabad beating Peshawar by five wickets to emerge victorious. Batting first, Peshawar could only put up a paltry 136 on board with Islamabad picking up wickets in regular intervals. Mohammad Sami was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets to show for while Rumman Raees and Shadab Khan picked up two wickets apiece. Eoin Morgan (28) and Darren Sammy (20) had both got off to good starts but couldn’t steer their side to an impressive total. Coming on to bat, Islamabad had a tough time dealing with the tight line that the opposition bowlers held early on. They could only manage to pick up 23 off the first six overs and continued the same way with a few odd boundaries keeping them in the game. With 38 required off 24 balls, Junaid Khan then bowled a forgettable over as he leaked 20 runs, including two wides and sixes to help Islamabad hope for a miracle. Dwayne Smith top-scored with 72 runs, making full use of a dropped catch on his individual score of 44 as he paced his innings well with six fours and four sixes. Shane Watson’s (30) handy contribution lower down the order had almost won his side the match but with two required off as many balls, he was run-out after completing a run. That brought in the little-known Amad Butt out in the middle, but even with all 11 fielders inside the circle for the last ball, the 21-year-old managed to dig out the yorker and complete the winning run.