Dubai -Sparkling knock of Asad Shafiq and Ahemd Shehzad helped Quetta Gladiators thump Karachi Kings by six wickets to confirm their position in the play-offs of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League.

In the 15th match of the PSL played here at Dubai Cricket Stadium on Thursday, Quetta Gladiators, chasing 155-run target, went off to a flying start as both the openers smashed half centuries to post opening stand of 105 runs in 12 overs. Ahmed Shahzad scored three sixes and four boundaries to score 54 off 40 deliveries, while Asad Shafiq scored 51 off 38 with the help of one six and six boundaries.

However, the 13th over delivered by fast bowler Sohail Khan saw three Gladiators wickets – Ahmed Shahzad – Kevin Pietersen and Asad Shafiq – falling. However, the skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed - supported South African Rilee Rossouw and Bangladeshi Mahmudullah - stood firm to finish the match in Quetta’s favour with 6 balls remaining. Sarfaraz Ahmed scored 19 of 17 deliveries to complete Quetta’s win with a boundary to backwards point off Mohammad Aamir. For Karachi Kings, Sohail Khan got two wickets, taking his tournament’s wickets tally to 11 – the most by any bowler in the second season.

Earlier, Karachi Kings were restricted to 154-6 in 20 overs after Quetta Gladiators won the toss and, keeping the tournament’s tradition going, elected to field first. Openers Sangakkara and Babar Azam provided Karachi with a solid start of 63 runs in 7.5 overs, but following Sangakkara’s wicket the momentum slowed down, though individuals kept scorecard moving but Kings couldn’t post a big total. Sangakkara smashed two sixes and one boundary to score 28 off 18 deliveries, while Babar Azam scored 36 off 37 deliveries.

Chris Gayle, although, managed to score some runs yet couldn’t keep his traditional strike rate and scored 29 runs from 34 runs at the strike rate of 85.29 – his career’s second worst T20 strike rate when facing 30 or more deliveries. Kieron Pollard scored some quick runs towards the end of innings by smashing one six and four boundaries to score 31 off 19 deliveries. For Quetta, Mahmudullah from Bangladesh got three wickets, giving 21 runs from four overs. Anwar Ali took two wickets while Mir Hamza could get one wicket. With this win, Quetta has cemented its place for the play-offs of Pakistan Super League, while Karachi struggling at the bottom with two matches remaining, and both now must win for the Kings.  At the award giving ceremony, man of the match Mahmudullah said: “I am happy, that's the way I wanted to bowl. I am glad to contribute to the team. I wasn't expecting too much turn, but it was surprising. I just wanted to hit a good length and I did. I'm having a good time in the PSL.”

Winning team captain Sarfraz said: “I was confident that Mahmudullah will perform and it was nice that he removed some of their big players. We don't look at the team on paper, we just try and give it all in the ground.”

Losing team captain Kumar Sangakkara said: “We had a good start and fell 30 short. We didn't run well at all, between 7 and 12 overs. Strike rotation wasn't great and the boundaries weren't coming either, so it made it tough. They outplayed us. We should've got 190. we tried hard with the ball, but the start wasn't ideal. We've to win two, so - onwards and upwards.”

Scoreboard

KARACHI KINGS:

Babar Azam c Hasan b Mahmudullah 36

K Sangakkara st Sarfraz b Mahmudullah 28

C Gayle c Hasan Khan b Anwar Ali 29

Shoaib Malik c Hasan b Mahmudullah 9

K Pollard c Anwar Ali b Mir Hamza 31

R Bopara c Rossouw b Anwar Ali 1

Imad Wasim not out 6

Sohail Khan not out 0

EXTRAS: (w 14) 14

TOTAL: (6 wickets; 20 overs) 154

FOW: 1-63, 2-77, 3-94, 4-131, 5-133, 6-148.

BOWLING: Mir Hamza 4-0-48-1, TS Mills 4-0-28-0, Anwar Ali 4-0-30-2, M Nawaz (3) 1-0-11-0, Hasan Khan 3-0-16-0, Mahmudullah 4-0-21-3.

Quetta Gladiators:

Asad Shafiq c M Aamir b Sohail Khan 51

Ahmed Shehzad c Pollard b Sohail 54

K Pietersen run out 0

R Rossouw c Sangakkara b Usama Mir 15

Sarfraz Ahmed not out 19

Mahmudullah not out 8

EXTRAS: (b 1, lb 7, w 2, nb 1) 11

TOTAL: (4 wickets; 19 overs) 158

FOW: 1-105, 2-111, 3-111, 4-142.

BOWLING: Imad Wasim 3-0-18-0, M Aamir 4-1-27-0, Usman Khan 4-0-33-0, Sohail Khan 3-0-28-2, Usama Mir 4-0-39-1, Shoaib Malik 1-0-5-0.

TOSS: Quetta Gladiators

UMPIRES: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and REJ Martinesz (Sri Lanka)

TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan)

Match referee - Shozab Raza (Pakistan)

Reserve umpire - Mohammed Anees (Pakistan)

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