Neesham, Powell power Zalmi to edge Gladiators

Monitoring Desk

KARACHI: All-rounders James Neesham and Rovman Powell played sensible knocks in the run chase to steer Peshawar Zalmi to a convincing four-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators in the ninth match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight.

Set to chase 155, Zalmi amassed the target in the 19th over with four wickets to spare at the back of a crucial partnership between Neesham and Powell.

Earlier, the Zalmi got off to a poor start to the pursuit as the side lost three wickets for 47 runs in the fifth over with in-form batters Mohammad Haris, Saim Ayub and Tom Kohler-Cadmore perishing cheaply.

Zalmi then endured a huge blow to their pursuit as they lost their skipper Babar Azam in the eighth over and consequently slipped to 67/4. Babar could score 19 off 18 deliveries.

Following the setback, Neesham and Powell anchored the run chase with a gritty 46-run partnership before Naseem Shah castled the latter to glimmer a ray of hope for the Gladiators.

Powell scored a brisk 23-ball 36 and smashed three boundaries and two sixes.
Following Powell’s departure, Neesham joined hands with Dasun Shanaka and steered his side closer to victory before falling victim to Qais Ahmed in the 15th over. He top-scored for the Zalmi with 38 off 23 deliveries with the help of four boundaries and three sixes.

Neesham’s dismissal triggered a late twist in the run chase but Shanaka and Wahab Riaz held their nerves calm to steer the side to their second triumph of the season. Shanaka scored an unbeaten 16 while Wahab scored 10 not out in 12 deliveries.
Mohammad Hasnain led the bowling attack for the Gladiators with 3/13 in his four overs while Naseem, Nawaz and Qais made one scalp each. Put into bat first, the Gladiators raised 154/4 despite a dismal start at the back of a magnificent half-century by Iftikhar.

Gladiators openers Jason Roy and Martin Guptill started cautiously against a disciplined bowling attack of Zalmi as they could score 28 runs in the powerplay before the latter lost his wicket in a desperate attempt to go big. Guptill could score 12 off 16.

Following his dismissal, leg-spinner Usman Qadir struck twice in his consecutive overs; removing Roy (14) and Mohammad Nawaz (2) as the Gladiators slipped to 37/3 in the ninth over.

Following the slump, skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and Iftikhar anchored the innings with a gritty 74-run partnership for the fourth wicket and broke the shackles.

Meanwhile, Arshad Iqbal castled Sarfaraz in the 17th over to dent the Gladiators’ march to a big total. The skipper could score 39 off 30 deliveries and hit five boundaries.

Iftikhar, however, held his ground firm and kept charging on the Zalmi bowlers in the death overs and received significant support from all-rounder Odean Smith, who struck a blistering 12-ball 25.

Iftikhar top-scored for the Gladiators with 50 off 34 deliveries, laced with two boundaries and four sixes. Qadir led the bowling attack for Zalmi with 2/26 while Arshad and James Neesham could make one scalp.