DUBAI: Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi by one run in the first nail biting play-off of Pakistan Super League 2017 and secured its place in the final.
History seems to have repeated itself. Last year, Peshawar needed 8 from the final over and went 0, 4, 1, W, W, 1. This year, they needed 7 and went 0, 4, 1, W, W, 0! Unbelievable.
Zalmi needed seven to win the match when Muhammad Nawaz conceded just five runs in the last over of the match.
A 139-run partnership between Mohammad Hafeez and David Malan almost took Zalmi near the target. Peshawar lost two early wickets and it seemed that the side will not be able to chase the 201 run target but Hafeezs 77 and Malans 56 made the target achievable for Zalmi. However, they fell just 2 runs short of the target.
Ahmed Shehzad was declared the Man of the Match, and his first responsibility was to take a selfie with the mascot. “I've been working hard," he said, “There have been ups and downs, but you have to stay strong. I had good support. Then I had a good domestic season and I was really pumped up for the PSL. If I continue like this, I can do wonders for the country, I guess. KP is a big player. And when you're with him, you can always have a good run-rate going and you can put a good foundation. Hats off to him"
“It's a repeat of last year," Darren Sammy said, “I thought we did well to restrict them to 200 after the start they had. To bowl the last 10 overs for 70 runs, that was a good comeback. And then losing two quick wickets, the way Hafeez and Malan batted and Shahid in the end… I suppose cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. First ball I thought I should finish the game, so I refused the single, but I backed the guys. Hasan, Wahab have all got runs for us. But the cricket Gods thought otherwise. We did everything to get ourselves into the finals. I guess mentally we have to be strong to come back against whoever we face. When you get so close and you lose, it's always difficult [mentally]"
“Credit to the whole team for this victory, there was massive dew. I just told Nawaz, this is your time to become a hero," Sarfraz Ahmed said, “All credit to him too, to bowl the yorkers in such difficult conditions. Shehzad's batting was really good, gave us all the momentum. We knew we could defend 200. The belief was strong and we are into our second PSL final. Lots of tension, lots of pressure, and we're thankful for coming through and we're very happy. Thanks to the crowd for supporting both teams, even if they did support Peshawar more"
Later today is the second playoff between Islamabad and Karachi. It's sure to be a nailbiter too.