Quetta Gladiators skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad and Peshawar captain with the PSL trophy at the Quaid’s Mausoleum Image Credit: PCB

Dubai. Peshawar Zalmi stopped defending champions Islamabad United by 48 runs in the Eliminator 2 and has reached the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to be held today at the National Stadium in Karachi.

Quetta Gladiator, who won the Eliminator 1 by defeating Peshawar by 10 runs, will now take on Peshawar in the final. 
The question in everybody’s mind is now whether Quetta will be third time lucky having reached the final in 2016 and 2017 but failed to win the title or will it be Peshawar that won the title in 2017 edition by beating Quetta by 58 runs in the final. Peshawar are the runners-up, having lost the last edition’s final to Islamabad by three wickets.

Quetta skipper Sarfraz Ahmad, commenting on his team chances to win the final, said: “We are playing the final for the third time, so we will do an all-out effort to play in the same manner which we have done in the whole tournament. If you look at the previous years, there were some factors which hurt us as some players didn’t come. This time, we are at our full strength, so we will do our best to play like we have done and win the tournament.”

Peshawar skipper Darren Sammy, when asked whether his team can win the title was as sporting as ever. “I like to be the underdogs. To be fair, Quetta are playing some good cricket. The key for us is that our bowling unit has pretty much been the same. Hasan has been playing since his debut and Wahab (Riaz) leading the pack and sharing his experience. We have some good players, not superstars but effective players. To be able to make three consecutive finals in a row is an achievement. Winning the final will really be the icing on the cake.”

It was an impressive show in the Eliminator 2 from Peshawar that ousted Islamabad. Kamran Akmal and Imam-ul-Haq put Peshawar on the patch to victory through half centuries. Akmal’s 43-ball 71 runs was studded with three sixes and 10 boundaries while Haq cracked a 33-ball 58 runs with two sixes and seven boundaries to help Peshawar register an impressive 214 for 5 in 20 overs. The pair had put on a 135 runs partnership for the opening wicket.

Chasing the target, Islamabad could muster only 166 for 9 due to tight bowling from inform pacer Hasan Ali (3 for 29) and England’s pacer Chris Jordan (3 for 26) Hasan removed Luke Ronchi for 17 but Chadwick Walton hit a 29-ball 48 runs. In-form Cameroon Delport too scored a 25-ball 28 and put on a 63-run stand for the third-wicket. Hasan ended Delport’s knock in the tenth over. Hussain Talat too became Hasan’s another victim for 19 runs. Islamabad’s Asif Ali too failed as Kieron Pollard had him caught behind for a second ball duck. Faheem Ashraf hit a 14-ball 31 runs with three sixes and a four but the asking rate kept mounting and he fell to Jordan.

Peshawar, after the fine start from Akmal and Haq, had Pollard hit a breezy 21-ball 37 runs with four sixes and one boundary. Sammy too hit a 15-ball unbeaten 30. Man-of-the-match Kamran, commenting on his team’s win, said: “I think our team has played very well, Our partnership laid the foundation and then Sammy and Pollard finished the innings so well.”

Incidentally, this is Kamran’s third half-century this season and ninth in 46 HBL PSL matches.

Brief Scores:

Peshawar Zalmi bt Islamabad United by 48 runs. Peshawar Zalmi 214 for 5 (Kamran Akmal 74, Imam-ul-Haq 58, K. Pollard 37, Daren Sammy 30n.o; Cameron Delport 2 for 24) Islamabad United 166-9 (C. Walton 48, Faheem Ashraf 31; Chris Jordan 3-26, Hasan Ali 3-29). Man of the match: Kamran Akmal.
Schedule: PSL final: Quetta Gladiators vs Peshawar Zalmi at 7pm (UAE time)
Watch on: Ary Ditigal.