Peshawar Zalmi stormed into the 2019 Pakistan Super League’s final with a conclusive 48-run victory against defending champions Islamabad United at the National Stadium of Karachi on Friday.
Kamran Akmal and Imam-ul-Haq blasted Peshawar to 135-1 in Eliminator 2, before Kieron Pollard’s 37 runs off 21 balls and skipper Darren Sammy 15-ball 30 helped them close on a formidable 214/5 off their 20 overs. Only Cameron Delport showed any sign of sustained resistance from the holders, finishing with two wickets at the cost of 24 runs.
In response, Islamabad failed to fire and not one of their batsman reached a half century. At the halfway stage, they required a mammoth 125 runs after the likes of Delport and Eliminator 1-hero Alex Hales got out cheaply.
It was then left for Pollard to bowl a sedate final over of an innings in which Islamabad could only reach a disappointing 166/9. Peshawar will now take on Quetta Gladiators in Sunday’s decider.
Last year, these two sides met in the final, with Islamabad beating Zalmi by three wickets, and though the stakes are not as high this time around, it’s still a high-pressure game as they face off in the second Eliminator with a spot in Sunday’s final on the line.
Islamabad beat Karachi Kings in the first eliminator on Thursday to book their place in this match, while Peshawar, who topped the table during the league stage, lost to Quetta Gladiators the day before in the first qualifier.
Follow the match with our live score.
Quetta Gladiators await the winners of the encounter in the final.
Islamabad are fresh from their success against Karachi Kings on Thursday, winning the first Eliminator by four wickets.
Their deep batting order was on show again as they chased down a target of 162 with three balls to spare.
After Cameron Delport and Alex Hales set up the innings nicely at the top of the order, a momentary wobble meant the talents of Hussain Talat, Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf were needed to get over the line.
ROAR MOMENTS! ⚡— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 14, 2019
The match between @IsbUnited and @KarachiKingsARY was thrilling and had plenty of roar moments
Ball-by-ball scorecard 👉 https://t.co/eNCXIuAbZD #IUvKK #PSL2019 #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll #ReadyToRoar #LiveLikeALion pic.twitter.com/rGh2rMnyb1
With so many players capable of contributing to put runs on the board, they always have a chance, even if Luke Ronchi doesn’t get going.
The way their bowling attack was dispatched to all parts of the ground early on in Karachi’s innings was only as concerning as their fightback – led by PSL 2019’s second-highest wicket-taker Faheem Ashraf and seamer Muhammad Musa – was encouraging.
Peshawar Zalmi on the other hand has been one of the standout teams this season. Indeed, they topped the league table with seven wins from their 10 matches before losing the qualifier to second place Quetta Gladiators.
Led by the league’s top wicket-taker this season, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz, Peshawar boast the strongest bowling attack but that didn’t stop in-form Shane Watson from showing them little respect during his match-winning knock of 71 from 43 balls during the Qualifier.
While Kamran Akmal and Immam-ul-Haq have been good at the top of the order without producing fireworks on a regular basis, Peshawar do boast plenty of power hitters lower down.
The likes of Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy are capable and the duo nearly pulled off a stunning chase against Quetta. Pollard (44 off 22) and Sammy (46 off 21) both had 200-plus strike rates as they took Peshawar far before falling in quick succession at the death.
ROAR MOMENTS! ⚡— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 13, 2019
The match between @TeamQuetta and @PeshawarZalmi was thrilling and had plenty of roar moments
Ball-by-ball scorecard 👉 https://t.co/hpkh4wGHHF #PZvQG #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll #ReadyToRoar #LiveLikeALion pic.twitter.com/QoffuVj5w6
Islamabad United: Luke Ronchi (wk), Alex Hales, Cameron Delport, Chadwick Walton, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Sami (c), Muhammad Musa, Rumman Raees
Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Liam Dawson, Kieron Pollard, Sohaib Maqsood, Darren Sammy (c), Chris Jordan, Umar Amin, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sameen Gul