Elliott dazzles Karachi’s batsmen as Quetta continue their winning ways
The high flying Quetta Gladiators took on Karachi Kings for the second time in the tournament, after winning their first encounter comfortably by 8 wickets. Karachi won the toss and elected to bat first, as Quetta are still yet to bat first in this tournament after six matches! Nauman Anwar and Shoaib Malik opened the innings and could not get into their stride early on. Anwar Ali bowled Nauman in the 3rd over, who continues to struggle in the tournament. Malik was joined by Vince with Karachi needing a partnership to set the platform for a big total. They scored at a steady rate but could never really get going, before Vince was bowled by Elliott in the 10th over after scoring 23 runs from 17 balls. Malik tried leading from the front and was the only batsman who got some runs, before he was dismissed by Nabi after scoring 45 runs from 38 deliveries in the 13th over. Once the skipper was sent packing, we witnessed the Grant Elliott show in Sharjah!
He began his spell effectively and became really hard for the batsmen with his variations. Karachi’s impressive middle order batsmen failed to get any grip on proceedings and tumbled in quick succession. Shakib Al Hasan was caught by Aitzaz Cheema off Elliott in the 16th over, as his troubled run with the bat continues. He came back in his next over by dismissing Sohail Tanvir with Nawaz taking a neat catch at deep backward square leg. Two deliveries later, Karachi’s danger man and the league’s top scorer Ravi Bopara became Elliott’s next victim as he caught him off his own bowling. With that crucial wicket gone, Karachi could never really recover and failed to finish their innings strongly as the Gladiators’ bowling attack ran through their tail quickly with Karachi only managing 126/9 in their 20 overs. Grant Elliott ended with spectacular figures of 4-0-15-4, as Quetta capped off another great display in the field.
Ahmad Shehzad wasted little time and started taking on the Kings’ bowling attack from the beginning. Luke Wright was supporting him steadily before he was dismissed through some clever bowling by Imad Wasim, who drifted one wide when saw him coming down the track, forcing Wright to miscue it for an easy catch on the off side. Ahmad Shehzad continued to hit big shots as Quetta continued to pile up run on the board. They were always in control of the match as Kevin Pietersen stepped on to the middle. Shehzad was bowled out by a peach of a delivery by Usama Mir in the 9th over, but the damage had already been done as he went after scoring 41 runs from 27 deliveries to put Quetta firmly in control of the match. Pietersen kept the runs coming and built a steady partnership with Sarfraz, before he too was dismissed after scoring 26 from 22 balls, with Quetta at 95/3 after thirteen overs.
Sarfraz led from the front and ensured Gladiators got to their target swiftly through some good running between the wickets. He remained not out on 29 from 33 runs, as Quetta sealed another comfortable victory against Karachi, this time winning by seven wickets. Grant Elliott was the man of the match for his match changing spell. With this victory, Quetta Gladiators have ensured their place in the play offs and if they continue playing this way, it would be hard for any side to stop them. It’s back to the drawing board for Karachi Kings, who will surely be pumped to come back strongly in their next match.