Australia’s globetrotting T20 performer Dan Christian made a vital contribution to Karachi Kings opening their Pakistan Super League title defence with a seven-wicket victory over former champions Quetta Gladiators.
As cricket fans returned for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic, they may have felt a tinge of disappointment when they saw the 37-year Christian take the crucial wicket of Chris Gayle as Quetta batted first.
Just after the self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ had moved ominously and entertainingly on to 39 off 24 balls, with a couple of sixes and four fours in his first appearance in Pakistan for 14 years, Christian struck.
The Sydney Sixers paceman foxed the West Indian with a slower ball that Gayle could only slash into the hands of Mohammad Amir at third man.
In his following over, Christian then produced a brilliant bit of fielding, collecting a one-bounce throw from Waqas Maqsood and diving to flick the balls on to the stumps to dismiss Mohammad Nawaz.
Christian ended with 1-12 off his two overs which helped restrict Quetta to 121 in 18.2 overs in the opening game of Pakistan’s premier Twenty20 competition.
Around 4,000 mask-wearing fans at the National Stadium then watched English wicketkeeper Joe Clarke hit a brisk 46 off 23 balls, with six fours and three sixes, as Karachi cruised to 3-126 with more than six overs to spare.
Arshad Iqbal, a 20-year-old rookie fast bowler, was the pick of Karachi’s bowlers, taking 3-16 to restrict the 2019 champions to a below-par total.
Quetta’s Australian Ben Cutting didn’t have the best of days, getting dismissed for 11 and then coming on to bowl with the match already effectively lost, only for Mohammad Nabi to smash him for three sixes in five balls to seal the win.