KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi’s right-arm medium Umaid Asif will never forget those last few seconds that could have turned the crucial eliminator either way.
In front of a crowd of thousands at Gaddafi Stadium, Quetta Gladiators needed 25 runs off the last over to avoid elimination. Peshawar Zalmi were just minutes away from almost-certain victory. Until Anwar Ali ran riot and smashed spinner Liam Dawson for 4, 6, 0, 6 and 6. Now Quetta needed just 3 runs from the last ball, and suddenly, Peshawar weren’t so sure of winning anymore.
Last ball. Anwar Ali swung the bat wildly, and the ball went up in the air. And it came down straight at Umaid Asif at the boundary. The next few seconds, according to Umaid, were a blur. He fumbled, dropped the catch, but gathered his wits instantly to return the ball to the bowler at the speed of light.
“When Quetta needed just 3 runs to win [from that last ball], I prayed to God that I don’t want to return home before the final, so please make us win,” the 33-year-old told Geo News.
“When the ball came towards me, I sprinted for the catch. But suddenly, the ball got lost in the floodlights [and I couldn’t see it anymore]. As soon as I dropped the catch, I knew I had to prevent double runs. God helped me,” he recalled.
Umaid Asif’s timely return ran out Mir Hamza, who couldn’t complete the second run. Peshawar Zalmi had won.
“Thankful to God, we won. We will play in the final like we have played and won in the last few knockout games. Every player will be giving their 200% in the final.”
According to Umaid, no team is easy to play. “Even a single over in T20 cricket can change the scenario. So we will not take [Islamabad United] lightly,” he added.
Umaid Asif is the second-highest wicket-taker for Peshawar Zalmi this season, with 12 wickets from 11 matches, behind Wahab Riaz’s 16 wickets from 12 matches.
— Edited by Maria Shamim