Ahmed Shehzad reminds Pakistan of quality in Quetta Pakistan Super League win

Osman Samiuddin reports on the fourth match of the Pakistan Super League, as Ahmed Shehzad's 71 led Quetta Gladiators to an easy eight-wicket win over Karachi Kings on Saturday.
Quetta Gladiators shown during a team huddle in their Pakistan Super League T20 match against Karachi Kings in Dubai on Saturday. Photo Courtesy / PSL / February 6, 2016
Quetta Gladiators shown during a team huddle in their Pakistan Super League T20 match against Karachi Kings in Dubai on Saturday. Photo Courtesy / PSL / February 6, 2016

Ahmed Shehzad is the only Pakistan batsman to have hit an international Twenty20 hundred and yet, such has been his drop in form since then, he is in serious danger of missing out on selection for Pakistan’s World Twenty20 squad. Since that hundred, nearly two years ago, he has one fifty in 15 innings; he has not gone past 28 in his last eight.

So his 46-ball 71 against Karachi Kings on Saturday in Dubai, leading the Quetta Gladiators to a second successive win in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), was a last-ditch reminder to selectors of his quality: they are likely to announce the squad in the next day or so and Haroon Rasheed, the chief selector, was at the stadium watching.

Read more: Find all of our Pakistan Super League content at our PSL T20 landing page

It was a quality memo, Shehzad in the kind of form that makes you wonder why he has been in the slump he has. He late-cut Shakib Al Hasan in the second overs of Quetta’s chase and chose thereafter to deal mainly in maximums and singles.

First he tonked Sohail Tanvir over midwicket, and then, dancing down the pitch, launched Shakib and Shoaib Malik in quick succession over wide long-on. With his fourth six, off Imad Wasim, he brought up a 35-ball 50.

For company, he had Luke Wright who, by contrast, has been in a golden run of form. Good form in the Big Bash League (BBL) has continued. He opened the PSL with an 86 in Quetta’s opening win on Thursday and followed up with 47 here, the opening stand between the pair all but sealing a comfortable, second eight-wicket win – when Kevin Pietersen, unbeaten on 29, finished with a towering six, there were still 16 balls to spare.

Karachi’s innings never really took off, not after they lost a wicket in the first over and allowed Zulfiqar Babar to bowl a maiden immediately after. No batsman really got going, until Malik and Ravi Bopara put on an intelligent 69-run stand for the fifth wicket.

The pair ran smartly, with energy but could not quite conjure the power finish Karachi would have hoped for. A 148-run target looked competent but turned out to be rather less so.

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Published: February 6, 2016 04:00 AM

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