KARACHI: Islamabad United dominated with the bat and ball as they defeated defending champions Peshawar Zalmi by three wickets on Sunday to lift the trophy of the third edition of the Pakistan Super League.
The highlight of the match was United opener Luke Ronchi’s rapid 52 of 26 deliveries, making Zalmi’s fighting total off 148 runs look relatively easy.
Peshawar pacers appeared to have brought their team back into the game in the late over as Islamabad wickets fell in quick succession, but some late hitting by Asif Ali helped United make it over the finishing line for the second time in the three-year history of the tournament.
The match marked the first time a PSL final was played in Karachi, as thousands of fans flocked to the sold-out National Stadium under tight security. It was also the city’s biggest cricket match in nine years, after terrorist attacks resulted in the suspension of international cricket in Pakistan.
United’s opener Luke Ronchi made the 149-run target an easy chase for the team with his fiery 52 runs.
The Kiwi batsman was dismissed on the team score of 96 runs when Andre Fletcher took his catch on the ball of fast bowler Chris Jordan.
United wasn’t able to continue with the momentum staged by Ronchi due to back-to-back dismissals as where Chadwick Walton was dismissed by Umaid Asif on duck, skipper JP Duminy got out after scoring just two runs.
In a sudden, fast bowler Hasan Ali changed the dynamics of the game by taking two wickets of Samit Patel and Shadab Khan in his over.
First Innings – United’s bowlers neutralised Zalmi batting firepower
Zalmi had troubled start as their key batsmen failed to deliver as per expectations.
Spinner Samit Patel gave an early breakthrough to the United by striking down in-form batsman Kamran Akmal on his very first over of the game.
Later in his second over, Muhammad Hafeez fell prey to his flight and gave an easy catch to the bowler on eight runs.
The next to be returning back to the pavilion was opener, Andre Fletcher, as the Windies batsman wasn’t able to time a flipper from Shadab Khan, leading the ball to hit pads in the line of wickets.
Hussain Talat ended innings of Chris Jordan and Saad Nasim on the respective scores of 36 and two runs.
Shadab Khan picked the prize wicket of Zalmi skipper Darren Sammy on the 15.4 overs of the game with his googly delivery, and on the very next delivery dismissed Umaid Asif after taking a review. Though the next batsman in, Hasan Ali, denied him from Hattrick.
A late blitz by fast bowler Wahab Riaz lifted Peshawar Zalmi to a fighting total of 148 runs. The tailender offered resistance to the JP Duminy-led team with his 28-runs off 14 balls innings, in which he scored four boundaries and one six to give a margin to the ‘Men in Yellow’ bowlers.
The National Stadium was lit up today to welcome cricket’s homecoming to Pakistan’s biggest city, as thousands of fans flock to the sold-out National Stadium to witness two great teams face off.
Earlier, pop star Ali Zafar while exclusive speaking to Geo News requested fans to show their ‘Karachi spirit’, as cricket is returning to the city after nine years.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair Umar and Director General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor were present in the stadium.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi welcomed the spectators at the closing ceremony of the event and expressed his gratitude to the security forces for giving top-notch security for the event.
The PCB chairman requested fans to show the same passion in the series against West Indies, to be played a week later at the same ground.
He said that the board plans to hold most of the next PSL matches in different cities of Pakistan.
“The tournament wouldn’t have been possible without government’s support. I thank all of you for supporting Pakistan cricket,” he said.