KARACHI: Inaugural champions Islamabad United were understandably delighted as they claimed their second Pakistan Super League (PSL) title against defending champions Peshawar Zalmi on Sunday in front of an ecstatic National Stadium of Karachi.
Islamabad skipper for the historic night, South African JP Duminy, revealed that it was his first domestic trophy outside his own country. “Before the match, I had a conversation with the overseas players and asked them if any of them have ever won a trophy in a domestic competition outside their own country and all of them had said no,” he said. “Now that has changed.”
Duminy led the side in the absence of captain Misbahul Haq and vice-captain Rumman Raees — who were both missing due to injury — and revealed how honoured he felt to do so.
“Leading the team in the semi-final and final was a great opportunity for me and incredibly memorable,” he said. “I never thought about leading the team when I came to the PSL. Misbahul Haq is a real inspiration for the whole team. Leading the team, especially players with whom you have not spent much time with, was a difficult task but I am pleased that I did it successfully.”
The left-handed batsman also hailed man of the series Luke Ronchi as well as middle-order duo Hussain Talat and Asif Ali.
“It was a high pressure match but I am glad that Ronchi — who has been fabulous throughout the tournament — and youngsters Talat and Ali performed at the grand occasion,” he said. “It’s incredible the way this tournament has given opportunities to young players and the way that they have responded.”
The batting all-rounder, who decided to travel to Pakistan for the PSL despite Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) refusal to grant him a no-objection certificate (NOC), said that he will always remember his trip to Karachi.
“The love we received and the way the crowd supported us was amazing,” he said. “The way people have welcomed us physically and over social media was really good to see and it has really changed our perception of Pakistan. We enjoyed the time we spent here, especially the love they have given us.”
‘Amazing to play in front of such a huge crowd’
Ali finished off the game with three consecutive sixes, smashing 26 off just six balls, and revealed his desire to do something spectacular in front of so many fans.
“There was the pressure of the final as well as that of the crowd,” he said, while talking to The Express Tribune. “It was the first time that I have played in front of so many people and it was an amazing feeling to be able to perform in front of them.”
The 26-year-old said that all pressure was removed from him after he hit the first six. “Then I hit the first six, the cheering of the crowd converted all the pressure I had into confidence and I was able to hit two more after that. I will always remember this win and the three sixes that I hit.”