KARACHI: Late onslaught from Sherfane Rutherford and Wahab Riaz guided Peshawar Zalmi to a thrilling three- wicket win over Quetta Gladiators in the eighth fixture of HBL PSL 6 here at National Stadium on Friday night.
Chasing a huge 199 to win, Zalmi found themselves struggling at 145 for five in 15.5 overs and required 54 from 25 balls when Wahab joined Rutherford.
Both batsmen took bowlers to the cleaners and collected 44 runs in the next three overs to bring down the equation to only six required off the last over.
Mohammad Hasnain got Wahab (20 off 8) on the first ball of the last over, but bowled a wide full toss away from the keeper which costed the team five runs, and eventually Rutherford played the winning shot hand Zalmi their second win of the season with three balls spare.
Rutherford remained unbeaten on 36 off 18 balls, which included one four and four towering sixes.
Zalmi’s run chase got off to a wobbly start as they lost experienced Kamran Akmal (3 off 8) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (4 off 4) in the first four overs for 27.
It was Haider Ali’s sizzling half-century that helped Zalmi stage a comeback and set platform for his team to surmount the mammoth total. The 20-year-old smashed 50 off 29.
Undeterred by the fall of wickets, Haider timed his first ball for a four behind point and smashed his third for a gigantic six down the ground off Hasnain’s full-toss.
He accumulated 17 runs off Usman Shinwari in the 13th over, dispatching the left-arm pacer for a boundary through cover and a six over deep long-on before an inside edge of his bat went for four.
The youngsters spanked as many as five fours and two sixes and received the desired support from opener Imam-ul-Haq from the other end as the pair knitted a crucial 51-run partnership.
Imam was bowled by leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood for 41 off 30 balls. His innings included four fours and a six.
Haider, then, was joined by experienced Shoaib Malik with the side still required another 120 runs from 64 balls.
Haider brought up his second half century of his HBL PSL career off 28 balls and was caught off Dale Steyn on the next.
Steyn, playing his first match of the season, took two wickets for 44 in four overs.
Following Zalmi captain Wahab’s decision to field, the crowd at the National Stadium was treated with sumptuous stroke play by Gladiators’ captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who scored his fourth HBL PSL half-century, and young hard-hitting batsman Azam Khan after they accumulated runs at seven an over in the batting powerplay.
Openers Cameron Delport (2 off 5) and Saim Ayub (21 off 19) were back in the pavilion in the seventh over with 48 runs on the board.
Faf du Plessis, who has come in as a partial replacement for Chris Gayle, was joined by Sarfaraz, who smashed 12 fours and a six in his impressive 40-ball 81, and the pair contributed 40 runs for the third wicket, before du Plessis fell to his former teammate Wahab for 37. The former South Africa captain struck four fours and a six in his 26-ball innings.
Azam Khan, coming to bat at number five, smashed bowlers all around the dial and struck a 105-run stand for the fourth wicket with his captain.
Azam scored 47 off 26 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes – one of them landing on the roof of the stadium.
Saqib Mahmood was the pick of the bowlers for Peshawar Zalmi, taking three for 34.
Gladiators have played three matches in the ongoing season and are yet to open their account.