Photo: PSL

James Neesham starred as Peshawar Zalmi eased past Quetta Gladiators in match nine of the Pakistan Super League season eight at the National Bank Cricket Area on Monday.

Chasing a 156-run target, Zalmi got off to a flying start thanks to Mohammad Haris and Babar Azam.

The wicketkeeper-batter enjoyed batting against Mohammad Nawaz, as he smashed three boundaries in a row to keep the run rate down.

However, Mohammad Hasnain’s double strike turned things around for the Gladiators, as they keep things under control for a while.

He removed dangerous-looking Haris (18) and Saim Ayube for a golden duck to reduce Zalmi to 29/2 in the third over.

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However, Captain Babar kept the scoreboard ticking with Tom Kohler-Cadmore at the crease.

In the fifth over, Hasain struck again as he removed the England batter, who scored just nine. Babar fell after scoring 19 off 18 deliveries.

At that stage, Rovman Powell and James Neesham made a vital 46-run stand for the fifth wicket. Naseem Shah broke their partnership in the 13th over. He removed the West Indies batter, who walked back to the hut after scoring 36.

At that stage, Quetta tried to put pressure on Zalmi through the pace of Hasnain and Naseem, but that was all relieved when Qaise Ahmed came to bowl his last over.

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Neesham smashed him for a maximum and two boundaries before the Afghanistan leg-spinner finally got his wicket.  The New Zealander scored 37 off 23 with the help of four boundaries and two sixes.

For Gladiators, Mohammad Hasnain bowled a stunning spell, where he claimed three wickets for 13 runs including a maiden.

Earlier, Iftikhar Ahmed aka the IftiMani was in full flow, as Gladiators post a fighting total after a below-par start.

It took them 11 balls to get off the mark as both Jason Roy and Martin Guptill found the thing difficult in the middle. Eventually, Zalmi were rewarded for their brilliant bowling as Neesham removed Guptill (12), as Quetta reached 28 at the end of powerplay.

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In the next over, Usman Qadir got the big wicket of Roy, who scored 14 off 23. Sarfaraz Ahmed played the captain’s knock for his 39 off 30.

However, the real star of the Gladiators’ innings was Iftikhar, who stuck two boundaries and four maximums for his 34-ball 50.

He remained unbeaten alongside Odean Smith, who scored 25 off 12 not out.

Usman Qadir claimed figures of 2-26 from his four overs.