Watson all-round show powers Quetta to massive win
Shane Watson’s all-round show gave Quetta Gladiators their fourth win in the Pakistan Super League, as they climbed up to the second spot from fifth in the points table, after overcoming the Karachi Kings’ challenge comfortably. On the back of half-centuries from Watson and Kevin Pietersen, the Gladiators set the Kings 181 for a win. However, a collective effort from their bowlers helped restrict the Kings to 113 for 8 on Thursday (March 8) to pick up a 67-run win.
Opting to bowl, the Kings couldn’t stop Watson’s early onslaught as the openers added 60 for the opening wicket with Asad Shafiq taking the back seat before being dismissed for 16. Watson was at his aggressive best as he tore into Imad Wasim in the third over, dispatching him for three sixes in an over. In the 12th over, he offered just the one chance after having given Shenwari a chance at sweeper cover, but the fielder gave Watson a mighty let-off after the ball burst through his palms, just after he had raced away to a 34-ball half-century.
Watson, along with Pietersen, put Karachi under a lot of pressure through their aggressive strokeplay. After a sedate start that lasted a couple of overs, Pietersen let loose after going after David Wiese for a boundary followed by a six. In the next over, he subjected Shahid Afridi to similar treatment, reaching his fifty off 31 balls after a 14-run over from Mohammad Amir. The duo of Watson and Pietersen added 86 before the latter was sent back for 52 thanks to a brilliant catch from Ravi Bopara on the boundary line.
Watson went on unperturbed but fell short of a century, remaining unbeaten on 90 off just 58 balls – an innings that comprised of seven maximums and five fours – as Quetta finished with a sizeable total at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The Kings, in response, were set back in the chase early on after having lost their top order for little. Reduced to 2 for 2 with their openers back in the shed, it was never going to be an easy task in a steep chase. Further loss of wickets, and regular ones at that, that saw them reeling at 55 for 5, not just had them battling through the wickets column, but had them lagging in terms of the mounting required run-rate from the onset.
The equation was simple for Karachi Kings before the game: win and progress to the …