Sarfraz hails Nawaz, Shahzad

Quetta Gladiators skipper confident side can win tournament despite foreign players opting out

Azeem Siddiqui March 02, 2017
Sarfraz confident Quetta Gladiators can win tournament despite foreign players opting out. PHOTO COURTESY: PSL

DUBAI: Quetta Gladiators skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has hailed last-over hero Mohammad Nawaz and man-of-the-match Ahmad Shahzad for their superb performances that once again saw Quetta become the first team to reach to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final.

It was déjà vu for PSL fans as the inaugural edition’s first play-off had also ended in a one-run win for Quetta, and captain Sarfraz was happy to praise his players despite running out two players off the last two balls.

“I just cannot praise Nawaz enough for bowling a last over like that,” he said, while talking to The Express Tribune. “To defend only seven in the final over was a superb effort.”

Sarfraz could be seen running to Nawaz and offering advice during the crunch final over, and the wicketkeeper batsman revealed what he said to the left-arm spinner.

Quetta Gladiators qualify for PSL final

“We were discussing tactics; what to bowl and what kind of field to set,” revealed Sarfraz. “We decided that he will bowl a yorker and thankfully he managed to bowl a perfect yorker that won us the game.”

Quetta had gone into the game as the underdogs after losing their last two group games, including one against Peshawar in their previous match, but Sarfraz said morale in the dressing room had never gone down. “Yes we had a bit of a blip but we were all very motivated and very confident despite the poor run of results,” he revealed. “The two losses had been close-fought affairs that had gone into the last over so it wasn’t like we had been playing poorly or anything.”

Many would argue the match should never have been this close to begin with since Quetta had gone off to a dream start courtesy Shahzad and Kevin Pietersen, being 121-1 inside the first 10 overs at one stage. “Shahzad has been in superb form for the past 4-5 games, and he was superb once again,” said the Pakistan limited-overs skipper.

Quetta Gladiators' foreign players back out, but coaches will be in Lahore

Quetta foreign players opt out of final

Gladiators will not have the services of the talismanic Pietersen to call upon in the final, but Sarfraz feels his side can still strike a good balance and be a daunting opposition in Lahore.

“Unfortunately our foreign players (Englishmen Pietersen, Tymal Mills and Luke Wright along with South African Rilee Rossouw) have decided against playing in the final in Lahore,” he said. “However, we will be doing our best to win the final even without them.”

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