Quetta Gladiators showcased why they were the most dominant side throughout the fourth season of Pakistan Super League by making light work of Peshawar Zalmi in the much-expected final in Karachi on Sunday.
Quetta’s best batsman of the season, Shane Watson failed with the bat but Sarfraz Ahmed-led team eased to a 139-run target and seal the PSL crown in front of a packed house at the National Stadium in Karachi.
Everything went right for Quetta as captain Sarfraz won the toss and sent Peshawar into bat.
Peshawar suffered a major blow as early as the second over when they lost opener Imam-ul-Haq, who had been one of their most consistent batsmen, for 3. Kamran Akmal tried to get going but Mohammad Nawaz struck to remove the dangerous wicketkeeper-batsman who finished the season as Peshawar’s top scorer.
Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Amin led a fightback but the duo was never able to keep the scoreboard moving briskly. Peshawar were let down on the big day by two of their foreign superstars in Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy as both the West Indies big-hitters failed to provide the innings the much-needed impetus towards the end.
Best Batsman of the tournament & player of the #HBLPSL 2019, @ShaneRWatson33.
Winning captain, @SarfarazA_54.
Man of the Final, Muhammad Hasnain.
Champion Gladiators #KhelDeewanoKa pic.twitter.com/0fy4vLgL6e
PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) March 17, 2019
Sarfraz should have been mighty impressed with his fast bowlers as Mohammad Hasnain and Dwayne Bravo picked up five wickets between them, conceding just 54 runs in 8 overs.
In reply, Quetta’s innings got off to the worst possible start as they lost the tournament’s top scorer Shane Watson cheaply. However, senior batsman Ahmed Shehzad held one end and struck a fine half-century.
Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 17, 2019
Ahsan Ali’s quickfire knock of 25 from 18 balls sealed the deal for Quetta. Rilee Rossouw then played the finisher’s role to perfection as he smashed a 32-ball 39 to take Quetta past the finish line with 13 balls and eight wickets to spare.
Credit goes to team management: Sarfraz
Sarfraz Ahmed lauded his teammates for the special effort on Sunday and thanked the Pakistan security forces for making sure the final leg of the PSL was held in Pakistan smoothly.
“Credit goes to the team management, and to the crowd. The way they’ve responded to the support for both teams, was excellent. Then the Rangers, Police, PCB they’ve all worked hard to make this tournament possible in Pakistan,” Sarfraz said.
Darren Sammy rued Peshwar’s batting performance but lauded the team’s consistency over the last three seasons.
“We didn’t do enough with the bat. They were the team to beat in the tournament, and they proved why today. But we’re still proud to make three consecutive PSL finals. We’ve played a brand of cricket that we should be proud of.
Meanwhile, Watson bagged the Man of the Series award. The former Australian all-rounder was in fine form throughout the tournament, smashing 430 runs from 12 matches.