Roy century spurs Quetta to 8-wicket win over Peshawar

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Jason Roy overshadowed Babar Azam’s eighth T20 century with a sensational unbeaten 145 off just 63 balls as Quetta Gladiators crushed Peshawar Zalmi by eight wickets in a record-breaking Pakistan Super League game on Wednesday.

Roy pulverized Peshawar fast bowlers by smashing 20 fours and five sixes as the Englishman anchored Quetta to PSL’s highest-ever successful run-chase of 243-2 with 10 balls to spare.

Babar had earlier scored 115 off 65 balls to record his first PSL hundred and young left-hander Saim Ayub blazed 74 off 34 balls in what appeared to be Peshawar’s strong total of 240-2.

“In T20, it’s as good as I’ve ever played,” Roy said. "Chasing that total is something that doesn’t happen often, so I’m going to cherish this.”

Roy, who took a break from Pakistan’s premier domestic T20 league to play in England’s ODI series in Bangladesh, smashed all the Peshawar pacers at will in a superb display of strokeplay and raised the victory by lofting fast bowler Azmatullah Omarzai over long-off for a six.

Experienced fast bowler Wahab Riaz (1-56) conceded 10 fours and a six in his four overs while pacer Arshad Iqbal (0-55) was more expensive in his three overs as he was smacked for nine boundaries and two sixes.

Roy dominated the run-chase from the onset and featured in two solid stands, adding 109 runs with Will Smeed (21) before veteran Mohammad Hafeez also scored a quick-fire unbeaten 41 off 18 balls and accompanied Roy to Quetta’s most memorable win.

Earlier, Babar and Saim raised the second-best ever stand for any wicket in the history of PSL as Quetta missed an early opportunity to separate the pair.

Naseem Shah dropped a sitter at long off when Saim was only on 6 in the third over and then Smeed conceded a six when he parried the ball over his head while failing to hold onto a difficult catch on the edge of the boundary.

Saim, who hit six fours and five sixes, finally exited in the 14th over when he couldn’t clear stand-in captain Mohammad Nawaz and short extra cover. Babar raised his 100 off 60 balls with his trademark cover driven boundary before he was run-out in the final over after hitting 15 fours and three sixes.

“Roy didn't allow us to come back into the game with his outstanding batting,” Babar said. “Our bowlers simply couldn't execute the plans.”

Quetta went into the game without regular skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was ruled out because of hand injury.

Quetta kept its slim hopes alive of qualifying for the playoffs with six points from nine matches; its last game is against Multan Sultans on Saturday.

Peshawar has eight points from eight games and has still two games in hand to make it to the playoffs.

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