Quetta Gladiators 180 for 4 (Watson 90*, Pietersen 52) beat Karachi Kings 113 for 8 (Imad 35, Anwar 2-16, Rahat 2-29) by 67 runs
In a nutshell
Quetta Gladiators turned in a performance that would have been well-suited to their form in the first two seasons, crushing Karachi Kings by 67 runs. Riding the high from Wednesday's pulsating finish, they played their best match of this year's tournament by far, dominating Karachi from the first ball to last. They amassed 180, thanks to major contributions from their two biggest stars. Shane Watson scored an unbeaten 58-ball 90, while Kevin Pietersen belted 52 off 34 balls to subdue a Karachi bowling attack that had more weak links than an Anne Robinson game show. Afridi and Imad Wasim were off colour, while Imran Khan and David Wiese bore the brunt of the punishment Pietersen and Watson dished out. By the end of the innings, it seemed a small win for Karachi that Sarfraz Ahmed's men didn't get closer to 200.
Karachi experimented by sending Afridi to open the batting with Joe Denly, in the process reminding everyone why he hasn't been opening the batting for the last decade or so. He looked particularly wobbly, and was dismissed for 1 off 5 balls. The rest of the Karachi top order was no better, as Mohammad Nawaz bossed proceedings in the first Powerplay with an excellent spell. By 10 overs, Karachi were 55 for 5, and the game was already over, with both sides going through the motions for the last hour or so. Before long, Quetta had clinched a big win, boosting their net run rate and sending a message to the rest of the league.
Where the match was won
Opening with Afridi, Karachi would have hoped to get off to an aggressive start in the Powerplay, and keep in touch with the asking rate. It's safe to say that idea didn't work, but it's worth looking at the scale of the disaster in the early overs. Four of their top five batsmen fell for a combined six runs, with Denly, Afridi, Ingram and Bopara scoring 1, 1, 5 and 0 respectively. Nawaz, Rahat Ali and Hasan Khan were without blemish early on, all of them taking wickets and not conceding runs. That was in marked contrast to Quetta's top order, which, thanks to Watson and Pietersen, had taken the game away from Wasim's men before the second innings had even begun.
The men that won it
Thursday was a good day to shut up everyone who wrote Quetta off this year due to their lack of star power. With a lineup including two of the biggest names of this generation, it was only a matter of time before someone found themselves on the wrong end of a Quetta hammering. In the twilight of their careers, Pietersen and Watson tore into Karachi with an enthralling partnership, walloping 86 runs in 58 balls. Crucially, that was in the middle overs, a time when most teams' scoring rates go down. That meant Quetta's innings never really decelerated, resulting in an imposing total. Watson even returned for a stellar bowling spell, conceding 18 runs in three overs and taking the wicket of Babar Azam.
The (big) numbers game
Watson's unbeaten 90 superseded Sohaib Maqsood's 85 that until today had been the highest individual score in PSL 3. Moreover, Quetta's 67-run win is the biggest in terms of runs in the history of the league. At one stage, Quetta looked like they were on course to beat Multan Sultans' 183 and claim the highest team total this year too, before a late part-rally by Karachi's bowlers deprived them of that record.
Where they stand
Quetta surge to second in the table after Thursday's big win, their eight points behind only Multan Sultan, who have nine. Karachi, with seven points, drop down to fourth.