Ahmed Shehzad’s stroke-filled 71 and his 92-run opening partnership with Luke Wright eased Quetta Gladiators to an eight-wicket win over Karachi Kings. The side chased down a target of 148 with 16 balls to spare, notching up their second big victory in as many games.
Shehzad and Wright took charge of the chase from the outset, after the latter survived an lbw appeal in the first over off Imad Wasim. Mohammad Amir managed to keep the pair quiet for a couple of overs but Shehzad and Wright targeted the other bowlers in the line-up to make up for it.
They took 34 runs off Shakib Al Hasan’s three overs during their partnership, including a 16-run over in which both Wright and Shehzad struck sixes on the leg side. By the tenth over, Quetta were a solid 82 for 0, with 66 required off 60 deliveries, and Shehzad ensured they did not relinquish their grip after Wright fell to Imad in the 12th over.
He brought up his fifty off 35 balls with a six over long-on and hastened Quetta’s march to victory with successive fours off Shakib. By the time he fell in the 16th over, Quetta needed 10 runs off four overs and were steered home calmly by Kevin Pietersen, who finished the game with a six. Shehzad struck five fours and four sixes in his 46-ball stay at the crease.
Earlier, lack of partnerships at the top of the order stalled Karachi’s innings after they were put in to bat. James Vince was the only one in the top four to get to a start, accumulating a 33-ball 30, before a rapid partnership of 69 for the fifth wicket between Ravi Bopara and Shoaib Malik gave the innings some impetus.
The pair helped Karachi pile up 63 runs off the last six overs before they both fell in the final over of the innings. Bopara’s 29-ball 40 included three boundaries, while Mohammad Nabi and Anwar Ali picked up two wickets apiece for Quetta.