PSL

Rutherford powers Gladiators home in last-ball finish against Kings

By Sports Desk February 29, 2024

Sherfane Rutherford's blistering knock (58* off 31) and his unbroken match-winning partnership of 80 with Akeal Hosein (22* off 17) took Quetta Gladiators to a thrilling five-wicket win over Karachi Kings in a last-ball finish in Karachi on Thursday.

Chasing a slightly below-par target of 166, the visitors raced away to 57 off just 29 deliveries through their openers Jason Roy and Saud Shakeel.

Both batters made use of the powerplay, notably the Englishman who went hammer and tongs at the Karachi bowlers. However, the partnership was broken off the last ball of the powerplay when Shakeel fell to Hasan Ali. The breakthrough spurred a collapse for the Gladiators as they lost four more wickets for just 32 runs in the next 37 deliveries. Zahid Mahmood's wrist spin proved tricky to handle on a slightly two-paced surface at the National Stadium.

While the leggie picked the big wickets of Rilee Rossouw and Khawaja Nafay, Hasan Ali removed Sarfaraz Ahmed while Shoaib Malik took the big scalp of Roy. From a cozy 57/0, the Gladiators were staring down the barrel at 89/5 in the 14th over. Rutherford, though, showed no signs of panic and got good support from Hosein as the duo went about their work effortlessly. They struck sixes with frequency and then rotated strike to take the game deep. From 66 off 36, it became 45 off 24 and then 25 off 12. Hasan's penultimate over went for just 10 despite a six in it, leaving 15 to get off the final over.

Anwar Ali, playing his first game of the season, couldn't hold his nerve as Rutherford smashed him for sixes off the first two balls to virtually seal the deal. The pacer did drag the game deep to the final ball but couldn't prevent a Gladiators win. There was massive drama off the penultimate ball when Anwar missed an opportunity to run out Rutherford - the all-rounder went all the way to the stumps to whip the bails off when a gentle throw would have caught the West Indian short. It was to be Karachi's final chance of salvaging something from the game as Rutherford had the last laugh off the final ball.

Earlier on, though, Anwar's unbeaten 14-ball 25 is what gave the Kings some respectability to their finish with the bat. James Vince (37 off 25) and Tim Seifert (21 off 11) had gotten the hosts off to a flier after skipper Shan Masood's first-over dismissal, racking up 61 off the powerplay. However, once Gladiators' spin duo of Usman Tariq and Abrar Ahmed got into the act, things changed drastically as the Kings lost wickets at regular intervals. Mohammad Nawaz created some impetus in the middle overs but couldn't convert his starts.

Just when the Kings had gotten themselves to a position for the final assault, they lost wickets in a heap. From a potential total of 180-plus, even 160 looked doubtful before Anwar's flurry in the 20th over gave the Kings something to bowl at. It was a below-par total but they nearly still made a game of it.

Brief scores: Karachi Kings 165/8 in 20 overs (James Vince 37, Mohammad Nawaz 28, Abrar Ahmed 3-31, Usman Tariq 2-16) lost to Quetta Gladiators 169/5 in 20 overs (Sherfane Rutherford 58*, Jason Roy 52, Zahid Mahmood 2-17) by five wickets

 

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