Quetta Gladiators 136 for 9 (Roussow 60, Irfan 3-26, Narine 2-16) beat Lahore Qalandars 128 (Roy 27, Elliott 26, Hasan 2-10, Nawaz 2-19) by eight runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In a nutshell
Lahore Qalandars lost a game that they seemed to have a grip on for the first 25 overs. In a chase of 137, Lahore combined woeful shot selection with poor running to gift last year's finalists a thrilling eight-run win at the Dubai Stadium. The two points Quetta Gladiators get may as well have a bow on them.
Lahore looked set for a comfortable win when Jason Roy and Brendon McCullum took the attack to Zulfiqar Babar right from the beginning of the run chase, each contributing quickfire scores in the twenties to set Qalandars up nicely. However, Zulfiqar got his revenge by ultimately accounting for both of them. Even then - with the score on 49 from 4.3 overs - Lahore looked to be well on course. Then, left-arm spinners Hasan Khan and last year's sensation Mohammad Nawaz, strangled Lahore with a tight middle-stump line and waited for the batsmen to make mistakes, who duly obliged as the last nine wickets fell for 79 runs.
Earlier, Quetta's innings failed to take off at any point in the first thirteen overs, with all batsmen struggling for timing after Lahore's bowlers continued to build up pressure. At 65 for 5 in 13 overs, Quetta looked like they might struggle to get past the PSL's record lowest score of 111, but a late surge from Rilee Rossouw, who anchored the Gladiators' innings with 60, got them to a defensible total. From there, it was their bowling - and Lahore's suicidal approach - that did the rest.
Where the match was won
Rossouw struggled early on in his innings, just as much as his team-mates, but he managed what most of his fellow Gladiators failed to do: bide his time instead of throwing his wicket away. After a start where he scored 16 runs off his first 24 balls, Rossouw made his move with seven overs to go, launching Grant Elliot for six over covers. 60 came off the next five overs, and Rossouw finished with 60 off 47 to give Quetta a fighting chance. As it turned out, Quetta needed every single run off Rossouw's bat to get over the line, and the absence of a similar anchor man for Lahore led to their downfall. This was Roussow's first competitive game outside South Africa after signing a Kolpak deal with Hampshire, and his knock came in parallel with South Africa's match against Sri Lanka, where the Proteas were looking to seal the No. 1 ranking in ODIs.
The men that won it
Consistent left-arm spinners in a low-scoring T20 contest seems to be as close to a winning formula as you can get in the sport, and Quetta got all their equations right on that front. They kept the faith with Zulfiqar, even as Roy and McCullum spanked him around the ground. He snared both of them, and then Hasan Khan and Mohammad Nawaz took a combined 4 for 29 runs in 6.4 overs. They cannot claim all the credit, however, with poor shot selection from Lahore's batsmen at critical moments turning out to be just as conclusive.
Moment of the match
With less than six runs needed per over and eight wickets in hand, Lahore were never in a more assertive position than when Umar Akmal, last season's highest scorer, came in to bat at 49 for 2. The openers had just departed after setting up a nice platform, and all Lahore needed was cool heads and the ability to keep rotating the strike to get their campaign going. It was here that Akmal chose to demonstrate his maddening inconsistency, trying to clear mid-off from a wide slower delivery by Anwar Ali. He picked out Thisara Perera, and Lahore were suddenly 50 for 3. From there, it was a grind, and Quetta were more than up for it.
Where they stand
Quetta start the second season of the PSL win a win, joining Islamabad United at the top. Lahore, like Peshawar, lose their first game, meaning they have been on the wrong side in seven of nine games over the PSL's two seasons.