Watson’s 90* propels Quetta to second place

Quetta Gladiators 180 for 4 (Watson 90*, Pietersen 52) beat Karachi Kings 113 for 8 (Imad 35, Anwar 2-16, Rahat 2-29) by 67 runs

In a nutshell

Quetta Gladiators turned in a performance that would have been well suited to their form in the first two seasons, crushing Karachi Kings by 67 runs. Riding the high from yesterday’s pulsating finish, they played their best match of this year’s edition by far, dominating Karachi from the first ball to last. They amassed 180 thanks to major contributions from their two biggest stars. Shane Watson scored an unbeaten 58-ball 90, while Kevin Pietersen belted 52 off 34 balls to subdue a Karachi bowling attack that had more weak links than an Anne Robinson game show. Afridi and Imad Wasim were off colour, while Imran Khan and David Wiese bore the brunt of the punishment Pietersen and Watson dished out. By the end of the innings it seemed a small win for Karachi that Sarfraz Ahmed’s men didn’t get closer to 200.

Karachi experimented with sending Afridi to open the batting with Joe Denly, in the process reminding everyone why he hasn’t been opening the batting for the last decade or so. He looked particularly wobbly, and was dismissed for 1 off 5 balls. The rest of the Karachi top order was no better as Mohammad Nawaz bossed proceedings in the first Powerplay with an excellent spell. By 10 overs, Karachi were 55 for 5, and the game was already over, with both sides going through the motions for the last hour or so. Before long, Quetta had clinched a big win, boosting their net run rate and sending a message to the rest of the league in the process.

Where the match was won

In opening with Shahid Afrid, Karachi would have been hoping to get off to an aggressive start in the Powerplay, and keep in touch with the asking rate. It’s safe to say that idea didn’t work, but is worth looking at the scale of the disaster in the early overs. Four of their top five batsmen fell for a combined six runs, with Denly, Afridi, Ingram and Bopara scoring 1, 1, 5 and 0 respectively. Nawaz, Rahat Ali and Hasan Khan were without blemish early on, all of them taking wickets and not conceding runs. That was in marked contrast to Quetta’s top order, which, thanks to Watson and Pietersen, had taken the game away from Wasim’s men before the second innings had even begun.

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