RAWALPINDI: An astonishing ambush from Martin Guptill left Karachi Kings stunned and delivered Quetta Gladiators’ second win of the HBL Pakistan Super League 8.
Quetta Gladiators struggled for the most part in their chase of 165, losing wickets regularly, but Guptill’s onslaught at death helped them to a four-wicket win. With 57 needed off 24, Guptill smoked James Fuller for 24 runs, smashing him for two towering sixes and three fours, in what turned out to be a match defining over. The New Zealander and Sarfaraz Ahmed stole 14 and 11 runs from the 18th and 19th over delivered by Musa Khan and Mohammad Amir.
Aamer Yamin needed to defend eight off the last over and Sarfaraz’s run out on the second ball promised to spice up things, but Dwaine Pretorius, playing his first HBL PSL 8 match, smashed a boundary, took two, and again hit a four to take Quetta Gladiators over the line. Guptill returned unbeaten on 86 off 56 balls.
Quetta Gladiators’ previous win this season was also against Karachi Kings and was also delivered over a heroic innings by Guptill as he hit the first century of season in that match. Out of his 252 runs this season, 203 have come against Karachi Kings and his best score against any other opposition is 15.
Quetta Gladiators seemed on course to another defeat as they were five down for 63 inside 10 overs, but a brilliant partnership between Guptill, who clubbed nine fours and four sixes, and Sarfaraz (29 off 25) rescued them. The two added 95 runs, doing the repair work for the most of the time and building up a platform to go berserk in the last five overs.
They required 68 off 30 and the pair dropped the first hint of their intentions when Guptill launched Amir for a six in the 16th to rack up 11 from that over after they could muster only 17 runs in the last three overs.
Tabraiz Shamsi’s wrist spin did most of the damage in the first half of the run chase as the South African dismissed Iftikhar Ahmed and Najibullah Zadran in consecutive overs. The start to the run chase was also underwhelming as Omair Bin Yousuf fell in the second over to Aamer and Mohammad Nawaz was caught and bowled by Muhammad Musa in the fifth.
After Naseem Shah removed Matthew Wade on the first ball of the match, Adam Rossington did most of the work for Karachi Kings, making 69 in 45 balls with 10 fours and a six. The only reasonable support he got was from in-form Imad Wasim, who returned unbeaten on 30 off 20 balls, as the middle-order failed to fire, thanks to Aimal Khan (two for 26) who removed Tayyab Tahir and Qasim Akram.
Aamer played a handy cameo in the end, smashing 23 off 11 (two sixes and a four) that lifted Karachi Kings to 164 at the loss of six wickets.
Both Aimal and Naseem finished with two wickets each.