SHARJAH-Sammy led Peshawar Zalmi to a 5-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators in the highly important match played here at Sharjah Stadium on late Thursday night.

Sammy walked into bat at a very crucial stage of the match and despite being not fully fit, as he tore his hamstring while bowling and twice got injured, first time, he got medical attention in the ground and he very bravely tried to complete his over, but while trying to stop batsmen from scoring double on his bowling, he once again limped down and this time, he had to carry outside by the medical staff.

Zalmi were in hot waters as they required 28 runs in last 3 overs and then 22 runs in the last two overs. At this crucial stage, when Tamim Iqbal ran himself out, they were almost down and out, but then came a limping Sammy, who put up brave show and smashed Rahat Ali out of the park for a six. Zalmi required 10 in last over. Usman Khalid very cleverly took a single and gave strike to Sammy, who again hit a massive six and then hit a boundary to complete a memorable victory for Zalmi.

Sammy hit 16 in just 4 balls, as he smashed one boundary and two sixes, for his match-winning knock, he was named player of the match. Zalmi achieved 142-run target in 19.4 overs losing 5 wickets. Tamim was top scorer with 36 runs, which he gathered by hitting 3 boundaries and 1 six, while Hafeez contributed 29 and Smith 23. Anwar Ali failed to defend 10 runs, but it was quite strange that Sarfraz didn’t bother to bowl M Nawaz, who could have been much better and trusted option.

Sarfraz looked completely off-coloured in the entire match and everyone knows about his form with gloves and willow. Instead of wasting their energies on ensuring Sarfraz retaining as national team skipper, the Gladiator owners and well-wishers must ensure that Sarfraz should lead the Gladiators from the front and play sheet-anchor role in guiding them important victories.

Earlier, Zalmi skipper won the toss and invited Gladiators to bat first. Gladiators got off to a highly slow start and put on just 32 in the first 6 overs. Like witnessed in the past, Asad Shafiq, while trying to hit ball out of the park, lost his wicket and Sarfraz Ahmed instead of sending a pinch-hitter, sent Umar Amin at number 3, which couldn’t help their cause, as Amin consumed 16 deliveries for his 11 runs.

Watosn must considered himself very lucky, as he got out off a no-ball and he took full advantage of the charm life, as he top-scored with 47, hitting 1 four and 5 massive sixes, while Rossouw made 37. Despite getting a new life, Sarfraz was out caught at deep square leg, but the umpire gave no-ball, as Sammy has extra fielders in the ring. But he once again failed to take any advantage and was bowled by Wahab Riaz, who decided to celebrate Sarfraz wicket, but then he realised, Sarfraz is skipper and immediately changed his decision. The skipper made 17 runs while Umar Amin consumed 16 deliveries for his 11 runs. Wahab bowled with pace, venom and fire and bagged 2-16 while Umaid Asif and Darren Sammy took two wickets each.

Zalmi made 3 changes in the side which played last match. Ibtisam Sheikh, Haris Sohail and Jordan were left out, while Sameen Gul, Khalid Usman and Shabbir Rehman were included, while Gladiators also had only one change as Mehmoodullah made way for Rossouw.

For the very first time, a nearly-packed stadium was witnessed as the entire arena was buzzing with lot of noise and the environment was fully charged. As per expectations, Pakhtoons thronged the venue in huge numbers and they simply outnumbered Gladiators supporters. The fans were making huge noise, which was creating difficulties for the sports journalists to perform their official duties. The PCB must ensure either Sharjah administration construct boundary walls or at least allocate some space for sports journalists, where they may perform official duties in a calm atmosphere.

The PCB has issued accreditation cards in bulks while on the other hand, the media box of Sharjah Stadium could hardly offer 30 plus seats, which are also very outdated. The wifi system was also pathetic, commoners, especially the kids, were hard to control, as they were making huge fuss. Some senior journalists were highly upset and threatened to leave the place, but they were calmed by media personals. The PCB must ensure matches should be held in Dubai, as Sharjah Stadium couldn’t provide even ordinary facilities, while crowd factor is also fast losing its charm.