History repeated itself as Peshawar Zalmi came so close to victory in the first playoff of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but Quetta Gladiators once again snatched it from them.
Last year, in the first playoff between the same teams, Aizaz Cheema defended eight runs against Peshawar to send Quetta directly into the final. This time, it was the left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed who held their nerves in the last over.
With seven runs needed off the last over, Peshawar were pushed closer to a victory by captain Darren Sammy's boundary on the second ball of the last over. He followed it with a single on the third ball and then started what no one would have thought of.
With only two runs needed off three balls, Chris Jordan was caught behind, Wahab Riaz was run out in an attempt to steal a single and then trying to make it back to the crease. On the last ball, with two needed, Hasan Ali was once again cramped for room by a Nawaz fuller delivery. He tried to run for an equaliser but Sarfraz was quick on his feet and collected and dislodged the bails to send his team into the second consecutive PSL final.
Earlier, man-of-the-match Ahmed Shehzad (71 off 38) and Kevin Pietersen (40 off 22) helped Quetta set a mammoth 201-run target for Peshawar.
“I told Nawaz that it’s his time to become a hero,” said winning captain Sarfraz in the post-match presentation ceremony. “All praise to him that he delivered under tough, dewy conditions. I was really tensed; there was a lot of pressure, but it’s good to qualify for the second time on the trot for the PSL final.”
Over 20: PZ 199-6
STUMPED! Hasan Ali receives a yorker, tries to to hit it out of the park, misses, runs and Sarfraz once against picks it up and runs him out. WHAT HAS JUST HAPPENED IN SHARJAH? Peshawar lose by one run in the first play off, same like last year.
RUN OUT! Wahab connects the bat with the ball but doesn't know where the ball went. He runs for a single and Sarfraz picks it up and dislodges the bails. What a turn around! 2 needed off 1 now.
CAUGHT BEHIND! Jordan departs with 2 off 2 needed now.
FOUR! Mishit from Sammy runs square towards off.
Nawaz. Seven needed off the last over.
Over 19: PZ 194-6
OUT! Afridi lifts it in the air and Nawaz takes the catch. A scintillating cameo comes to an end.
SIX! Slammed over midwicket by Afridi. Don't you want to see him hit those shots all your life?
15 off 12 needed.
Over 18: PZ 186-5
Only five off the over.
Over 17: PZ 181-5
SIX! Lala, Lala, Lala the crowd roars as he places another one into the stands.
BOWLED! Comes across, sends one straight and Haris Soahil has missed the ball by a mile in an attempt to sweep.
FOUR! Through covers by Haris Sohail. Youngster making his contribution alongside Afridi.
Over 16: PZ 167-4
SIX! Lala all the way. This one is on the roof top. Umpires are calling for the new ball. How many times have we seen them ask for new one!
STRIKES FIRST BALL! Soft dismissal and Malan sends it back into his hands.
Over 15: PZ 157-3
SIX! Over extra cover goes Lala. Big day for PZ and the big man is stepping up for the team. Can he finish it off?
FOUR! Wide on off but Afridi is smart enough to see the vacant boundary at square leg. Pulls it all the way from there to there.
Over 14: PZ 144-3
OUT! Hafeez is caught at extra cover. A great innings comes to and end from the veteran Pakistan all-rounder. Peshawar are now closer to the target - 57 off 36 now and Shahid Afridi has walked in.
SIX! Slog sweep by Hafeez over midwicket.
FOUR! Malan completes his half-ton off just 25 balls.
Over 13: PZ 131-2
FOUR! Over short fine leg's head by Malan.
Over 12: PZ 121-2
SIXx3! Hafeez is hitting everything cleanly and over the fence. PZ have now made it a 50-50 affair. This is anyone's game to win now.
Over 11: PZ 102-2
Fourx3! Quetta's best bowler till now getting a beating from Hafeez and then twice from Malan. Zalmi are nearly back in the hunt.
Over 10: PZ 86-2
In the last eight overs, Hafeez took charge of the chase and scored 42 off 32 balls courtesy four boundaries and two maximums. Malan, meanwhile, is playing part his part and has contributed 33 off 18. Peshawar are still way behind of the required rate but this partnership can lay the foundation of this chase with Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy and Haris Sohail still to come.
We apologise for the technical glitch.
Over 2: PZ 4-2
OUT! First ball, Kami tries to pull it over mid on's head but mistimes it. KP keeps his cool and cups it nicely. Kami succumbs to the pressure of the first over.
Zulfiqar Babar with left-arm spin now.
Over 1: PZ 1-0
Five dots to Kamran and finally he takes a single off the last ball. Bad start from Peshawar.
Anwar Ali to bowl the first over. Kamran Akmal and Dawid Malan to open a gigantic chase for Peshawar.
Over 20: QG 200-7
Quetta promised much more than that when KP and Shehzad took them to 100 in the ninth over but the middle order couldn't back their innings. However, 201 is still a difficult target to chase. It has been chased on only twice and on both occasions by Quetta. Can they defend it today?
Single off the last ball.
BOWLED! This time Wahab gets his length right and lights up the bails.
FOUR! Another one on the leg side and Saad Nasim elbow/wrists it to the fine leg boundary. Afridi is not happy!
Wide followed by a FOUR! Drifting down leg and it is guided past the short fine leg fielder.
Two singles to start the over.
Over 19: QG 188-6
RUN OUT! Sarfraz stops the ball and runs wildly, Saad Nasim didn't respond to it. The captain walks to the pavilion.
RUN OUT! There is a confusion whether to run for a third run and Anwar Ali (20 off 10) sacrifices himself for the captain.
Two singles follow.
FOUR! Another edge and it runs past the short third man fielder. Luck favours the brave. Anwar Ali take a bow!
FOUR! Anwar pulls wildly and the ball luckily flies over the short third man fielder to the boundary.
Hasan Ali for the penultimate over.
Over 18: QG 176-4
Three off first three balls. Two taken from an incoming midwicket fielder. A dot and a single follow.
Jordan now. Anwar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed on the crease for Quetta; they need to cross that 200-run mark.
Over 17: QG 170-4
FOUR! Sammy attempts a running catch at the boundary but it's too far from his range. He takes a fall pushing the ball past the boundary. First for Quetta after KP departed.
BOWLED! Straight, full and aimed at the middle stump. Rilee is a millisecond late and the bails are lit.
Wahab in for his third over.
Over 16: QG 160-3
Only seven off the over.
Over 15: QG 153-3
Eight runs off the over but no boundary still. They have seemed to dried up after KP and Shehzad departed. Sarfraz or Rilee need to take charge of the innings now or they will lose the advantage given to them by the top order.
Hasan Ali called to bowl.
Over 14: QG 145-3
Only two off Shahid Afridi's over. Peshawar spinning their way back into the match.
Over 13: QG 143-3
No boundary, only six from it.
Over 12: QG 137-3
OUT! KP (40 off 22) is caught at deep midwicket. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed joins Rilee.
Wahab Riaz is back.
Over 11: QG 131-2
FOUR! KP targets vacant space between square leg and midwicket.
Rilee Rossouw joins KP and Mohammad Hafeez has been brought on.
Over 10: QG 121-2
OUT! Shehzad finally mishits one into the hands of Wahab Riaz at long off. Sammy is ecstatic. This partnership hurt Peshawar badly. Can they recover?
FOUR! Edge and it flies past the keeper. Shehzad moves onto 71.
SIX! Another one out of the park. It's raining sixes and disappearing balls in Sharjah. Shehzad again!
SIX! Length ball and Shehzad bangs it over midwicket.
Darren Sammy wants to take matters into his own hands, and the ball too.
Over 9: QG 103-1
Bowls a good over but KP slashes the last ball towards point. FOUR! 100 up for Quetta in nine overs. Are in they in to score the highest PSL total today?
Jordan now for damage control.
Over 8: QG 94-1
SIXx2! Shehzad taking inspiration from the big man KP. Brings up his fifty after that off just 29 balls.
FOUR! Shehzad goes between point and third man.
Over 7: QG 75-1
SIX! Over square leg. KP you monster. He is on fire from the word go!
SIX! KP once again. This time over long on. This guy is the best when it comes to slogging it over the fence and out of the park.
Over 6: QG 59-1
SIX! KP it is! Send the ball on out of the park, onto the road. Sheer power strike.
FOUR! Pacy delivery and on off, Shehzad cuts with sheer power.
Wahab Riaz on now.
Over 5: QG 43-1
DRS time! Peshawar think they are in for a wicket. KP goes for the sweep, no bat involved, however the impact was outside, so, not-out. First review of the PSL goes to waste.
Over 4: QG 40-1
Nine runs off his over.
Chris Jordan now.
Over 3: QG 31-1
OUT! Wright (12 off 7) chops it onto his stumps. First strike from Peshawar. Kevin Pietersen joins Shehzad.
SIX! Luke Wright goes over Hasan's head.
Over 2: QG 23-0
FOURx2! Shehzad is not backing away from sending all lose balls to the boundary.
Mohammad Asghar with his left-arm spin.
Over 1: QG 13-0
FOURx3! A positive start from Shehzad with two boundaries and Wright ends the over with one from his bat too.
Hasan Ali to bowl the first over for Zalmi. Ahmed Shehzad has a new opening partner today, Luke Wright.
Darren Sammy wins the coin toss and opts to bowl first, as has been the norm in this PSL.
Peshawar are in a lighter mood
Will it be KP today for Quetta?