LAHORE: After 23 exciting days of cricket, 23 thrilling matches, 6579 runs, 298 wickets, 530 fours and 252 sixes, second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) has eventually come across its finalists in the form of Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi.
The grand finale between Gladiators and Zalmi, that is to be played at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on March 5, will be a rematch of playoff one in which Quetta downed Peshawar by just one run in a thrilling encounter and qualified for the final straight away.
Peshawar Zalmi, however, had a second bite of the cherry as they had finished on top of the table in league matches. Zalmi waited for the winners of second playoff to get another chance to reach the final.
Defending champions Islamabad United faced Karachi Kings in second playoff to keep their hopes alive of retaining the championship, but Misbah XI stumbled this time around and could not get over the line. Kings thrashed them in a game that once seemed in control of United but ended up as a one sided triumph for the Kings who dismissed their opponents on just 82 runs. United were chasing Kings’ 126.
Peshawar Zalmi were then challenged by Karachi Kings in third playoff which was decider for the second finalist. Zalmi were put into bat by Kings’ skipper Kumar Sangakkara. Peshawar’s Kamran Akmal seemed on a roll as he hammered Karachi Kings bowlers to all parts of Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Akmal scored the first century of PSL 2017 as well as of his own career. He registered blistering 104 off just 65 balls with six fours and seven maximums. The wicketkeeper batsman was eventually run out.
In reply, Karachi Kings’ innings could not get going anywhere as they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Imad Wasim resisted a bit but Peshawar’s 181 proved too much for them. With this victory over Karachi, Peshawar qualified for the final in second attempt.
When we talk about head to head clashes of both finalists, Quetta Gladiators have an upper hand over Peshawar Zalmi. Both teams have faced each other six times so far in PSL history and Gladiators remained victorious in three of them. Zalmi have won two encounters against Quetta and one game was abandoned due to rain.
Although Quetta Gladiators will go with confidence against Peshawar Zalmi after having beaten them in the playoff, but Zalmi will fancy their chances as well in the absence of leading foreign players in Quetta’s side.
Only time will tell who emerges victorious in second edition of PSL, but one thing is for sure that cricket fans are going to witness an epic battle on March 5 between these two giants of the game.
The final match will be played at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore at 08:00 PM (PST).
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily