Quetta Gladiators overpowered Peshawar Zalmi with an eight-wicket victory in the final to win their maiden Pakistan Super League title at the National Stadium in Karachi yesterday. It was third time lucky for the Gladiators in the final, having lost their two previous title clashes. Zalmi had set a moderate target of 139 runs, which the Gladiators chased down in 17.5 overs. After Shane Watson was dismissed early, Ahmed Shehzad scored a brilliant half-century to lead Gladiators run chase.
Shehzad added 47 runs for the second wicket with Ahsan Ali (25). Rilee Rossouw then struck the winning runs and remained not out on 39, while Shehzad ended unbeaten on a 51-ball 58 as Gladiators cruised to victory.
Peshawar’s heroes in the eliminator, Kamran Akmal and Imam-ul-Haq, both fell cheaply on Sunday, and that meant the middle order had to consolidate for much of the innings. The run rate consequently took a hit, and in the final overs, left Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy to provide the fireworks. Much like the rest of the Peshawar side, they failed to live up to the occasion.
Gladiators’ fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain took three for 30 runs. Hasnain, who will turn 19 in three weeks, showed why he had been picked with a sublime four-over spell in the biggest game of his young career.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani said he was hopeful all matches of the next edition of the PSL could be held in Pakistan, and not around UAE. “Next year we look forward to welcome you back with all the PSL matches in Pakistan,” Mani said at the National Stadium, where over 30,000 spectators attended the final of PSL 2019.
This year’s PSL started in the UAE, where 26 games were played, before the action shifted to Pakistan. Originally, three of the eight games were scheduled to be played in Lahore, followed by five in Karachi, but all games were moved to Karachi because of logistical concerns.
“Today for Pakistan, especially for Karachi, it’s a historic day. Since PSL is in Karachi, over 200,000 spectators witness the games at the stadium and millions witnessed on TV and digital platform. We should always remember that cricket is the one game that brings happiness and light in life and this lesson shouldn’t be forgotten,” Mani said.
“The biggest reward should be given to the people of Karachi, the way you people have supported and embraced PSL 4 here in your city. The love and support was extraordinary. Finally, I would like to say that all overseas players, officials and technical support teams, you have seen yourself the passion and love for cricket in Pakistan. Next year we look forward to welcome you back with all the PSL matches in Pakistan.”
For the PCB, the PSL, now coming to the end of its fourth season, has been a platform to try and bring top-drawer cricket back to the country. The final of the 2017 edition was held in Lahore, followed by the last four games, including the final, in 2018. This year, the last eight games have been held in Karachi.
This year, all overseas players involved in the PSL made the trip from the UAE to Karachi, including the usually reluctant Australian star Shane Watson, raising the profile of the tournament.
Peshawar Zalmi 138 for 8 (Amin 38, Hasnain 3-30, Bravo 2-24) lost to Quetta Gladiators 139 for 2 (Shehzad 58*,
Rossouw 39*, Wahab 1-19) by 8 wickets
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