(Kings 154 for 6 in 20 overs)
(Gladiators 158 for 4 in 19 overs)
DUBAI February 23: A superb 105 run opening partnership between Ahmed Shehzad (54) and Asad Shafiq (51) helped Quetta Gladiators record a thumping six-wicket win over Karachi Kings in an important HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) game played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
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Gladiators are the first team to book their place in the play-offs as they surged to nine points at the top of the five team pool following their win, Kings are languishing at the bottom with a mere four points after six games.
The pair of Shehzad and Shafiq was together for 73 balls and dominated the Kings attack to ensure a smooth sail for their team despite a brief mid-innings stutter which saw the Gladiators lose three wickets inside six balls in one Sohail Khan over; the right-armer took the wickets of Shafiq and Shehzad while Kevin Pietersen was run out without facing a ball.
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Shehzad hit four fours and three sixes in his stay while Shafiq who was included in the eleven after missing out the last match against Lahore Qalandars hit one six and six fours in his 38 ball innings. Shafiq was lucky to survive a dropped chance in the sixth over of the innings; Kieron Pollard dropped a simple chance at covers off the luckless Mohammad Amir.
Captain Sarfraz Ahmed (19) and Rilee Rossouw (15) saw their team home through with a 31 run stand, before Mahmudullah helped Sarfraz finish off the Kings with an over to spare.
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Sohail Khan took two wickets for the Kings.
Earlier, Kings stuttered to a total of 154 for six as the middle-order failed to capitalize on the 63 run opening stand (47 balls) between Babar Azam (36) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (28) after Sarfraz had opted to field first at the toss.
All-rounder Mahmudullah brought the Gladiators back in the game with a three wicket burst that accounted for both openers and Shoaib Malik who perished for a run a ball nine run innings.
Chris Gayle (29 off 34) and Pollard (27 off 16) added 37 runs for the fourth wicket off 27 balls as the Gladiators succeeded in applying brakes to the scoring in the closing stages of the Kings innings.
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Mahmudullah took three wickets while Anwar Ali dismissed two batsmen, Mir Hamza drafted in the Gladiators eleven for the first time this season was hammered for 48 runs in his four overs quota.
Mahmudullah was named man-of-the-match.