Quetta Gladiators defeated Peshawar Zalmi by 6 wickets in the third match of Pakistan Super League played in Dubai on Friday.
Zalmi had set a 156-run target for Quetta Gladiators to win the match. Umar Akmal hit 75 off 50 deliveries. He remained not out. Gladiators captain Sarfraz Ahmed scored 37 runs off 29 deliveries.
Umar Akmal may have been cast out into the wilderness by the Pakistan cricket team, but Umar Akmal found a way back into the country’s collective conscience with an unbeaten 50-ball 76 that helped his side cruise to victory against last year’s runners-up Peshawar Zalmi.
Pakistan’s cricket captain Sarfraz Ahmed said on Friday that, “Pakistan Super League (PSL) is an opportunity for young cricketers to prove their worth ahead of the World Cup.”
Speaking to the media after leading Quetta Gladiators to a comfortable win against Peshawar Zalmi, the wicket-keeper said those who perform exceptionally in the tournament would be considered for the mega event.
“The selection committee and management will surely consider if any exceptional talent is spotted during the PSL who can be picked for the national team,” Sarfarz said.
Sarfraz Ahmed also praised Umar Akmal, who scored a match-winning 75 to help Gladiators win their first match in the PSL’s fourth edition.
“Umar is a talented player and he can always do well for his team. If he continues to play like this, I’m sure he will soon make a comeback,” the national captain said.
Reacting to his side’s six-wicket win, the cricket captain said it was always important to win the inaugural match and get the momentum in the beginning.
However, “at the same time, it is important to keep that momentum”, he added. “We will try to continue with same momentum and passion in the tournament,” he noted.
Earlier, Mickey Arthur said that “PSL performances will count in World Cup Squad Selection.”
Arthur added that the final decision on the squad will be made after assessing the players’ performances in the Pakistan Premier League and the Australia series.
“Inzi and I have been on the same page for a long while here. And I’m going to be honest because I’ve told the boys in the dressing room the same thing the other night, I think we’ve got probably 19 players for 15 positions. PSL always throws up one or two good individual performers, so we are going to have a look at some of our borderline players, the guys that we are not sure about” said Mickey.
“PSL always throws up one or two good individual performers, so we are going to have a look at some of our borderline players, the guys that we are not sure about. We have to look at them during the Australian series and then we will make our minds up leading into England. Obviously, we will be taking 15 there. The key is players get clarity in terms of their roles.”
The head coach believes that the spinners’ performances in the middle overs will be key to Pakistan’s success in the World Cup, which begins on 30 May. “The other thing that’s important for us is having an option with two game plans. I’m saying two game plans because the weather in England at any given time is very unpredictable,” he said.