Watson, Rossouw smash fifties as Quetta maintain perfect record
Quetta have a formula, and as for now, the equations are working in perfect harmony. For the third time in three matches, they won the toss, and opted to chase. Peshawar had set Sarfraz Ahmed’s team 156, Islamabad 158, and Multan today 161. And just the way they cruised to win against their previous two opponents, Quetta put Multan to the sword thanks to a blistering start from Shane Watson and fireworks from Rilee Rossouw at the end.
Multan had posted 160; they will regret not racking up a bigger total after Shoaib Malik’s half-century had set his side a decent platform. Quetta weren’t quite as clinical with the ball as they have been in their previous two games, but in Multan they were up against a side that doesn’t possess the pure batting skill several others do. Ghulam Mudassar was the most sloppy, bowling two no balls and conceding 44 in his allotted four, but the other four ensured they more than made up for it. Fawad Ahmed was the pick, conceding just 22, with an exquisite googly getting rid of Shan Masood.
Multan may lose the services of Andre Russell if West Indies decide to call him up, but on the evidence of today’s performance that international summoning may be a while away. At the backend of the innings, he managed 18 off 12 (okay but not quite destructive). But he was well off the mark when handed the ball, barely able to get the requisite pace or accuracy to discomfit Quetta’s quality batsman. Watson smashed him for three successive fours in his first over, the ball sitting up for a man who doesn’t need any gifts right now. An hour later, his second over was little better as Umar Akmal and Rossouw tucked in. By then, he had conceded 29 off 12, more than neutralizing the 18 he himself managed off the same number of balls.
But bar a quiet first two overs, Multan were never given a chance. From the moment Shane Watson hit Nauman Ali for four fours in arrow in the fourth over, Quetta had the game in their grasp. It remained so right through till the 19th over, in which Rilee Rossouw knocked off the winning runs in what ended up being a canter.
Rilee Rossouw has been a star for Quetta Gladiators ever since he joined in 2017, and has scored more runs than any other player who’s participated in the league for only the last three seasons. While Watson’s explosiveness at the start is so habitual one may be forgiven for being blasé about it, Rossouw has finished off games when under real pressure. This was another to add to that Quetta canon as he made up for a slow start to carry his side home. With Watson there, he had the intelligence to play second fiddle to the Australian, but after his dismissal, he stepped up. He scored 48 off his last 26 deliveries to finish with 67 off 45, never really giving Multan a look-in.