DUBAI: Having thwarted Quetta Gladiators in their last match, Peshawar Zalmi are hoping for a repeat of that performance when the two sides meet in the first qualifying final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Dubai on Tuesday.
After being set a 129-run target, Peshawar were in trouble when Mahmudullah and Tymal Mills ripped through their batting attack to reduce them to 52-6 by the 10th over. However, it was then that Shahid Afridi stepped up and smashed a quick-fire 45 to take his side all the way.
Peshawar captain Darren Sammy believes the team has learnt from their mistakes and enter the first play-off with nothing but a win on their mind.
“Our middle-order collapsed in the game against Quetta so we have been practicing since then to ensure that that doesn’t happen again. We have analysed where we went wrong and are confident of putting on a good show when we meet this time,” he said.
Sammy, while praising the scintillating innings played by Afridi, added that he hopes his side would work as a unit rather than banking on individual performances to bail them out.
“Afridi was just amazing; he won the match for us in the dying moments when we were in big trouble. That’s the kind of guy he is. One moment you are losing and then Afridi comes along and does his thing. It was amazing,” he said.
“Winning certainly improved the mood in the camp but we know that we did not play the best cricket in the last match. But that is in the past now and all the players are excited to get to the play-offs and we would be looking to give our best performance to guarantee our place in the final.”
When asked about the nature of the challenge Quetta pose, Sammy said: “They are a top side; the best in the tournament so far. However, we ended up defeating them and I am confident we can do that again. We want to show that we are the best side in the PSL and reaching the final will certainly prove that. Momentum is on our side and the players are raring to go. Team spirit will be our biggest asset in Tuesday’s game.”
Meanwhile, Quetta captain Sarfraz Ahmed is hoping to put up a better performance than the one they did in the last match.
"We made a lot of mistakes in the match against Zalmi; we scored very few runs in the last five overs and our bowlers also couldn’t handle the pressure well,” Sarfraz told The Express Tribune. “But Afridi played really well that day and their win was fully deserved.”
Talking about the team's morale after losing back-to-back matches, Sarfraz said: “Although we lost matches, we went down fighting. Our players fought till the end and did not give up, something that has been our trait since the very beginning. We will use the same quality against Peshawar and rise from this setback.”