To keep the Gladiators’ hopes alive, Jason Roy breaks the PSL record with 145*
Nothing made sense as everything dissolved into a perimeter fog. With 483 runs, 54 fours, and 21 sixes, Quetta Gladiators are now one step closer to pulling off an incredible return and securing a spot in the semifinals for the first time since 2019.
Peshawar Zalmi achieved their highest score in T20 cricket because of Babar Azam‘s seventh century, which also gave Gladiators 241 to win.
Jason Roy, however, attacked the challenge with all the passion a man possessed, slamming an undefeated 145 off 63 balls to eventually cruise to victory with ten balls to spare.
The third-highest T20 chase ever, it surpassed Colin Ingram’s record for the best individual score in PSL history.
More crucially, it maintains the Gladiators in the PSL this year, where they are only one win from almost certainly qualifying.
As the first inning was through, the Gladiators appeared to be punch-drunk because of poor bowling and fielding, as well as a masterclass from Babar and Saim Ayub, which appeared to have crushed their spirits.
Yet they launched themselves onto a surface that not even the most skilled power hitters could have imagined preparing for, and they immediately took off.
The atmosphere was set by Martin Guptill’s brief appearance (21 off 8) but Jason Roy was still only getting warmed up.
He resumed in Rawalpindi where he had left off in Mirpur, having just returned from a term with his national team in Bangladesh.
A detailed representation of the craze wouldn’t do justice to how fluid and flowing the innings were, with one six merging into the next and one over becoming another.
One massive over after another caused Zalmi’s bowlers to start to feel as though they were in a fever dream, and they alternated fronting up and taking a beating.
At least two boundaries were hit in each of the first eight overs, and by the end of the first eight, Gladiators had reduced the target by half with 12 overs remaining, bringing them to 118 for one.
Although there were supporting performers on the other side, Roy demanded and ate up all the attention. When the asking rate gradually decreased, Will Smeed and Mohammed Hafeez, who were both skilled in their own right, prevented Zalmi from having any breathing room at the other end.
After a pair of rather peaceful overs around the halfway mark, whatever dreams Zalmi contained of making advances were blasted away around the 16th over, when six successive balls straddling two overs went for boundaries, ultimately sealing Zalmi’s destiny.
The 18-ball cameo by Mohammed Hafeez, who has been battling personal anguish over the past 24 hours, was one of the best T20 appearances this season.
Roy had to have the final laugh, though, in the end. As a result, their path to the playoffs is now completely out of their control.
It was a stroked drive over mid-off that went all the way for the final six of a frantic game that overpowered a confused Zalmi.
What was a fantastic batting performance from Zalmi themselves, especially their openers, will ultimately be swallowed up by all of that.
The two smashed their way through the powerplay, scoring 67 runs in six overs after Ayub was dropped by Naseem Shah early off Hasnain.
The Gladiators had no defence against the attack that was coming their way since they continued as if the fielding restrictions had not been relaxed.
The 100-partnership had been reached by the tenth over, and both players had scored half-centuries. On this particular day, though, Babar wasn’t just amassing; he was also closely matching Ayub’s strike rate.
As Ayub fell for a 34-ball 74, Zalmi had gone past 160, becoming just the second 150-run partnership in PSL history (Babar was also a part of the first one with Sharjeel Khan at Karachi Kings).
Babar slowed down a bit as he got closer to the three figures, but as soon as he saw them, he screamed with joy. Against a Gladiators team that was dropping catches and making misfields like they were going out of style, the innings was once again unrestricted.
Zalmi increased the misery with 33 runs off the final two overs, and by the midway point, it appeared that they had sealed both their place in the final four and the doom of the Gladiators. Roy and one of the magnificent Gladiators had different plans.