A rare six-wicket haul by veteran pacer Umar Gul could not get Multan Sultans over the line as the young Hasan Khan came of age for Quetta Gladiators, hitting a last-over six to give his side a crucial win in the 17th fixture of the Pakistan Super League 2018 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
The Gladiators made three changes to their line-up, replacing Mahmudullah, Umar Amin and John Hastings with Kevin Pietersen, Asad Shafiq and Ben Laughlin.
Meanwhile, the Sultans brought in Umar Gul and Ross Whiteley to replace Junaid Khan and Darren Bravo.
After the Gladiators won the toss and opted to bowl first against the Sultans, Kumar Sangakkara and Ahmed Shehzad opened the batting for the Sultans, with Mohammad Nawaz and Anwar Ali sharing the new ball for Gladiators.
The Sultans suffered a horror start to their innings as the Sri Lankan legend Sangakkara was dismissed by Nawaz on the first ball he faced.
They had yet to recover from the shocking loss when, five balls into the second over, Shahzad was sent packing by Anwar Ali.
Multan had managed 30 runs at the end of five overs, to which Sohaib Maqsood and Tanvir contributed with a six each.
It was then Shane Watson’s turn to strike as he dismissed Sohail Tanvir with an inswinging delivery before the end of the seventh over.
The wickets spree seemed to have halted then as the Sultans took their total to 61 at the end of 10 overs.
Sohaib Maqsood then left for the pavilion after he was removed by a Ben Laughlin delivery in the 13th over.
The Sultans were 95-4 after 15 overs as skipper Shoaib Malik started to work towards a modest total for his side, who lost their fifth wicket in the 18th over when Ross Whiteley was dismissed by Rahat Ali.
Thanks to a 43-ball 65 by Malik, the Sultans ended up setting a target of 153 runs for the Gladiators to triumph.
In reply, the Gladiators made a solid start, with Asad Shafiq and Shane Watson providing a 48-run stand.
The Gladiators, who were 38/0 at the end of the fifth over, lost their first wicket when Umar Gul sent Shane Watson back to the pavilion in the seventh over.
Gul struck again for his second wicket in two overs, dismissing Shafiq in the ninth over.
Halfway through their innings, the Gladiators were 62/2 and still 91 runs adrift of their target.
The prized wicket of Pietersen fell in the 11th over, with skipper Malik providing the breakthrough.
Rameez Raja Jr (22) hit boundaries in both of 12th and 13th overs before Imran Tahir got the better of him in the 14th. The pairing of Rilee Rossouw and captain Sarfraz kept the scoreboard ticking, with the former smashing Mohammad Irfan for a six over long -on in the 15th.
Three-quarters into the final innings, the Gladiators needed 48 off 30 balls with six wickets in hand — a task clearly doable in T20 cricket.
However, Gul was hatching a plan of his own. The ball was tossed to him in the 17th and 19th overs and both the times the Peshawar-born picked two wickets, setting the stage for a tense finish.
Before falling prey to Gul, Quetta’s lower-order batters Mohammad Nawaz and Anwar Ali had hit several boundaries to make sure the match went down to the wire.
In the end, it came down to the final over, bowled by Kieron Pollard but owned by the 19-year-old Hasan. Needing 9 off the final six deliveries, the youngster, heaved and heaved until he finally got hold of the penultimate ball of the innings, clearing the midwicket boundary for a six that earned his side a much-needed, morale-boosting two-wicket victory.
Gul, for his unbelievable 6-24 bowling figures, was deservedly named the man of the match.
Quetta: Shane Watson, Asad Shafiq, Rilee Rossouw, Kevin Pietersen, Rameez Raja, Sarfraz Ahmed(capt&wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Anwar Ali, Ben Laughlin, Hasan Khan, Rahat Ali
Multan: Kumar Sangakkara(wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik(capt), Kieron Pollard, Ross Whiteley, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, Imran Tahir, Umar Gul, Saif Badar