Quetta Gladiators finally succeeded in their quest to win the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the third time of asking. Having lost in two previous finals, they were not to be denied in the 2019 edition.
Sarfraz Ahmed led his team to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Peshawar Zalmi in Karachi on Sunday with 12 balls to spare, beating them for a fourth time this year. Prior to the final, they enjoyed two league wins over their opponents before getting the better of them in the Qualifier as well.
Mohammad Hasnain was the pick of the Quetta bowlers as he delivered figures of 3-30 with the opposition restricted to just 138/8. The target was chased down with relative ease courtesy of a fine half century from Ahmed Shehzad.
Quetta won the toss and elected to field, a decision that started to seem like the right one early on. Sohail Tanvir’s tight opening over of just two runs set things up nicely before teenage quick Hasnain made the breakthrough in the following over, claiming the wicket of Immam-ul-Haq (4) and breaking up Peshawar’s dangerous opening pair. The left-hander charged down the track but was done by the bounce and ended up skying his effort to clear the ropes straight to Shehzad at mid-off.
The experienced Kamran Akmal then took it upon himself to accelerate the innings and went after spinner Mohammad Nawaz in the fourth over, dispatching him for a six and two boundaries. With 14 garnered from the over already though, Akmal needlessly attacked the final delivery, one that Nawaz pitched shorter to beat the batsman with turn and hit the stumps.
Umar Amin set about rebuilding the innings with a handy knock of 38 from 33 balls, playing some well-timed shots along the way. He managed to put together a couple of partnerships with Sohaib Maqsood – who also threatened to cut loose at some point – and then Nabi Gul before the dangerous Hasnain came back into the attack and removed him from the equation with a short delivery which he pulled into the grateful hands of Tanvir on the boundary.
The onus was then on West Indies duo Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy to replicate their big-hitting in the past and salvage Peshawar’s innings with some fireworks in the death overs. But that was not forthcoming. Both batsmen struggled as the Quetta bowling attack kept them under wraps with a fine bowling display full of variation.
Hasnain was at it again when he dismissed Pollard for just seven off 12 deliveries with a mean bouncer, responding to the batsman ruthlessly swatting his previous delivery away for four. The 31-year-old could only get the slightest of edges on the subsequent bouncer which Sarfraz pouched behind the wicket. Sammy was out of sorts and though he batted through to the end, he never found the middle of the bat, consistently mistiming his wild swings and even running out Wahab Riaz embarrassingly during his innings of 18 from 16.
THE OYE HOYE MOMENT!— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 17, 2019
Youngster Mohammad Hasnain dismissed @KieronPollard55 at an important stage of the innings
Ball-by-ball clips & scorecard 👉 https://t.co/6DBUDl8EUY #QGvPZ #PSL2019 #PSLFinal #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll #OyeHoyeMoments pic.twitter.com/WZyKeBSpDk
Quetta began their chase on the front foot but were perhaps too keen to maintain a high scoring rate as a needless gamble saw main man Shane Watson (7) run out by a direct hit from Amin.
The team recovered well though with fellow opener Shehzad anchoring the innings with his knock of 58 not out from 51 balls, hitting six boundaries and one six in the process. He was ably supported in the middle by Ahsan Ali (25) and Rilee Rossouuw (39*).
The batsmen showed the experienced Wahab Riaz plenty of respect and the bowler finished with 1-19 from his four overs, going at a rate of just 4.75. They played the season’s top wicket-taker Hasan Ali excellently as well, biding their time but capitalising on the loose deliveries.
It was an all-round superb display from the Gladiators in the final and no one can say they haven’t earned the title of 2019 champions.
Know more about Sport360 Application