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 was 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 tense; there was a lot of pressure, but it’s good to qualify for the second time on the trot for the PSL final.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2017.