What a surprise this match was. Even though Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators was an exhibition match for this HBL PSL season 8, it felt like any other PSL match. It was one of the most entertaining matches of this season. Quetta Gladiators won the match on their home ground. It was all thanks to the powerful performance from Iftikhar Ahmad. His all-around performance pulled his team to victory and earned him the man of the match award. In this article, we will talk about the match highlights.
Quetta Gladiators started with bowling. Things weren’t good for them at the start. They lost early wickets. Before they reached the fifty runs mark, they were down three guys. But the batsman took the score up to 150s. The primary role in this was Iftikhar’s. He smashed 94 runs, which included his 36 runs in the last over to Wahab. People didn’t think something like this would happen. At that time, Hafeez was doing commentary on the match.
When Iftikhar had hit 5 sixes, Hafeez commentated that he wanted Iftikhar to hit those 6 sixers in the last over. He said:
“I want him to hit 6 in 6. Sorry Wahab”
With the last sixer, Quetta Gladiators finished with 184 runs.
Wahab ended with 3 wickets for 47 runs. Only Usama Mir saved them some runs at the end and ended his bowling figures with 1/16.
Babar was their opener this time, along with the young Muhammad Haris. Both openers started with an aggressive approach. They punished the bowlers harshly by hitting back-to-back boundaries. They continued their onslaught no matter which bowler was in front of them. Unfortunately, in the final over of the powerplay, Hasnain bowled Babar for 23 runs. Shahid Afridi batted after this and scored on his first ball.
As Afridi was on the ground, the crowd went crazy. There were chants of AFRIDI AFRIDI from the stands. Afridi showed glimpses from his younger days.
The Bugti stadium was the next stadium he played on after he scored his fastest century ever.
Haris accelerated further, benefiting Aimal Khan’s immaturity and scoring 20 runs in his initial round. Haris and Afridi’s quick-fire duo propelled Zalmi to 109/1 in just 10 overs. Things were looking suitable for Peshawar Zalmi, but Nawaz provided a breakthrough in this tough time and took the wicket of Shahid Afridi. The commentator said:
“Afridi burned the boats by coming down the pitch, but as he looked back, his wicket was gone.”
Sarfaraz took the stumps on Nawaz’s delivery.
Harris hit his fifty in 29 balls, keeping Zalmi’s pursuit on pace. He was well assisted by Saim Ayub, who smashed a massive six over the fine leg off Nawaz.
Quetta switched to Iftikhar, who prolonged his spell by dismissing Haris for 53. Ifti Mania is back again.
After this, there was a frequent fall of wickets.
Naseem Shah had 9 runs to defend in the final over. Wahab was on strike. He could get revenge for his last over, but he couldn’t, and Quetta won the match.
This match was one of the best matches we have seen in a while. And the star of this show has to be Iftikhar Ahmad. Whether it is his batting or his bowling, Ifti Mania didn’t stop entertaining the crowd. We hope that PSL will kick off the same way.