Guptill’s 56-ball 86* effectively ends Karachi Kings’ chances of making the playoffs

Quetta Gladiators win by 4 wickets and 1 ball remaining against the Karachi Kings

The Karachi Kings had a chance to defeat the Quetta Gladiators for the second time this season, but Martin Guptill angrily ripped it away from them. The first innings on February 18 saw a century. 

Today, when wickets fell at the other end of the field, Martin Guptill led his team with an unbeaten 56-ball 86, and in the final four overs, he kicked into high gear to all but eliminate the Kings and preserve the Gladiators’ slim playoff hopes.

It was brutally clear during the first 15 overs of the chase why Gladiators are at the bottom of the points standings. The Karachi bowling attack was not very impressive, and there was little in the way of quality purpose in the chase of a low score. 

After Omaid Yousaf fell early, Mohammad Nawaz was elevated to No. 3, but he only managed a shaky 15 before Mohammad Musa dispatched him. 

Tabraiz Shamsi caught Iftikhar Ahmed in front as he continued to struggle with form; the review had less chance of success than a lottery ticket. After that, Shamsi removed Najibullah Zadran, and James Fuller quickly removed Umar Akmal, reducing Quetta to 63 for 5 inside of ten overs.

Even if Guptill was present at the other end, the final five overs offered little in the way of a preview of what was to come. 

With the exception of the century against Karachi, he hasn’t really gotten any runs in the PSL, continuing a trend that has seen him lose form over the previous year or so. 

He had coasted along to 41 off 40 when, in the 16th over, he smacked Mohammad Amir for a six, everything suddenly seemed to click into place.

But the final blow came in the 17th over, when a helpless Fuller was brutally blasted for 24 runs in one over, with two sixes and three fours altering the outcome of the match. 

With a further six and four in the ensuing over, Musa took a lot of abuse, and Amir’s over saw him leak 11 runs, leaving eight off the 20th.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, who had been quietly watching from the opposite end, was accidentally run out by Kings at this point, but it was already too late. 

In order to secure the victory and keep the Gladiators’ slim chance of making it to the final four alive, Dwaine Pretorius entered the game. In just three balls, he smashed two boundaries.

Matthew Wade, the Kings’ first-round platinum choice, was taken out of the game by Naseem Shah, giving the Gladiators a strong start. 

After Tayyab Tahir and Qasim Akram were bowled by Aimal Khan, and before Shoaib Malik’s slow innings put an end to the Kings’ momentum, the majority of the top order struggled to make a significant impact. 

Any momentum was primarily due to Adam Rossington’s lone hand, whose 69 formed the backbone of the innings and allowed his team to position themselves for a strong finish at the end. 

Imad Wasim and Amir Yamin gave his team the finish they needed with 51 scores combined in the final five minutes to give them a total they could try to defend.

They were successfully guarding it for three-quarters of the chase. However, Guptill was still a sleeping dragon at that point, and the Kings were forced to watch as a disastrous PSL season ended when he awoke.