More last-ball drama as Peshawar Zalmi knock Quetta Gladiators out of PSL 2018

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Anwar Ali’s plundering of 22 runs in the final over went in vain as Quetta Gladiators fell just one run short of their target in the Pakistan Super League 2018 Eliminator at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore, losing to Peshawar Zalmi and going out of the tournament.

In another PSL match with final-over drama, the all-rounder was asked to come up with 24 runs off the final six balls. He hit four boundaries, including three 6s, but his attempt for a one last maximum on the final ball saw him fell agonisingly short of completing a Carlos Brathwaite-esque sequence.

Earlier, the Gladiators won the toss and decided to field first on a matchday that had seen plenty of rain and more was expected.

The equation was simple for both the teams: lose and go home or win and earn a shot at the PSL 2018 final opposite Karachi Kings.

The Gladiators were missing key trio of Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen and Jason Roy — all of who opted against visiting Pakistan. In their absence, the two-time finalists drafted Thisara Perera, Mahmudullah and Tom Kohler-Cadmore into their line-ups.

While their opponents were clearly weakened, Peshawar Zalmi were bolstered even more, thanks to Tamim Iqbal — who had gone for national duty halfway through the tournament —returning to their ranks.

With the Gaddafi Stadium packed to the rafters, Iqbal opened Zalmi’s innings and smacked two fours on the first four balls bowled by left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz.

Just when it seemed that Iqbal would rain boundaries on Gladiators, it started raining cats and dogs. With covers back on the Gaddafi Stadium pitch, the chances of a full 20-over match taking place dwindled.

In walked vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez, who has had an underwhelming PSL 2018 and whose team needed him to deliver now more than ever.

Despite the loss of two early wickets, one thing working in Zalmi’s favour was that they were still unfazed and playing their shots. Iqbal struck two 4s in the fourth over before Hafeez hammered a hat-trick of boundaries in the fifth over bowled by Mir Hamza.

At this point, if the game were to be called off due to rain, Zalmi would’ve gone through and Quetta eliminated due the former’s higher position in the league standings.

But, fortunately, the showers stopped and covers were taken off. The news from the middle was that no overs were to be deducted either — unless of course it rained again.

In walked vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez, who has had an underwhelming PSL 2018 and whose team needed him to deliver now more than ever.

Despite the loss of two early wickets, one thing working in Zalmi’s favour was that they were still unfazed and playing their shots. Iqbal struck two 4s in the fourth over before Hafeez hammered a hat-trick of boundaries in the fifth over bowled by Mir Hamza.

With one-quarter of their overs gone, Zalmi were 37-2.

The Professor, in particular, seemed intent on delivering a lecture as he smacked two more boundaries in the next two overs, bringing up Zalmi’s 50 and racing on to 25 runs off just 12 balls.

In walked vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez, who has had an underwhelming PSL 2018 and whose team needed him to deliver now more than ever.

Despite the loss of two early wickets, one thing working in Zalmi’s favour was that they were still unfazed and playing their shots. Iqbal struck two 4s in the fourth over before Hafeez hammered a hat-trick of boundaries in the fifth over bowled by Mir Hamza.

With one-quarter of their overs gone, Zalmi were 37-2.

The Professor, in particular, seemed intent on delivering a lecture as he smacked two more boundaries in the next two overs, bringing up Zalmi’s 50 and racing on to 25 runs off just 12 balls.

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