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Quetta Gladiators flex batting muscle to chase down 202

Quetta Gladiators flex batting muscle to chase down 202
Kevin Pietersen scored five consecutive boundaries during his knock of 34.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Quetta Gladiators 203-8 (Bismillah 55) beat
Lahore Qalandars 201-2 (Azhar 61) by two wickets
18th match, Pakistan Super League, Sharjah

Bismillah Khan led the Quetta Gladiators onslaught as they chased down 202 against the Lahore Qalandars off the final delivery in the 18th match of the Pakistan Super League in Sharjah to reclaim the top position.

Ehsan Adil and Dwayne Bravo shared seven wickets between them to peg back the Quetta Gladiators in the chase but Mohammad Nabi scored an unbeaten 30 off just 12 deliveries including a final ball boundary to take the Quetta Gladiators home.

Earlier, Quetta Gladiators won the toss and elected to field first. Chris Gayle (60) started the innings with a boundary off the first delivery signaling his intentions.

Gayle struck five sixes in the overs three to five as Lahore Qalandars reached 61 for naught in the powerplay overs.

Azhar Ali (61) who was quiet until the seventh over scored two sixes and three boundaries in the next three to bring the 100-run opening stand in 10 overs.

Gayle reached his fifty off 29 deliveries, but fell in the 11th over bowled by Zulfiqur Babar (1-49).

Azhar reached his fifty off 36 deliveries. He along with Umar Akmal (55 not out) scored three boundaries off Babar in the 15th over to take the Lahore Qalandars to 141 for one.

Azhar finally holed out to deep midwicket ending his 45-ball knock. Akmal went berserk smashing Anwar Ali (0-57) for three consecutive sixes in the 19th over while Bravo (20 not out) too kept finding boundaries at regular intervals.

With their unbeaten 59-run stand, Lahore Qalandars reached 201 for three in their 20 overs.

Bismillah (55) gave the perfect start for the Quetta Gladiators as he scored a six followed by three consecutive boundaries in the second over bowled by Zafar Gohar (0-18) to take the Qalandars to 28 for naught in two overs.

Adil (4-39) trapped Ahmed Shehzad (4) lbw in the first delivery of the third over but Kevin Pietersen (34) smashed him for five consecutive boundaries to bring down the required run rate to nine.

The onslaught continued as Bismillah plundered another four boundaries off Kevon Cooper (1-37) in the fourth over to take the Gladiators to 64 for one.

With another 17-run seventh over, Quetta Gladiators almost reached 100 at the end of the seventh over.

Bravo (3-30) brought Lahore Qalandars back in the game as he removed both Pietersen and Bismillah off successive deliveries in the ninth over.

At the halfway mark, Quetta Gladiators needed 95 runs with seven wickets in hand. Things could have gone worse for the Quetta Gladiators when Zohaib Khan (0-38) had Kumar Sangakkara (37) caught at long on but the left-arm-spinner broke the stumps on his follow through resulting in a no-ball.

Sangakkara added 61 runs with Sarfraz Ahmed (21) but once again Lahore Qalandars halted the Gladiators' progress with a double wicket 16th over. This time from Adil.

After losing Grant Elliott (3) and Mohammad Nawaz (3), Quetta Gladiators reached 175 for seven still needing 27 more to win in the final 12 deliveries.

Just when Lahore Qalandars smelled victory, Nabi (30 not out) hit two sixes and three boundaries in the final two overs to take the Gladiators home by two wickets. Bismillah was awarded the man of the match.

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