PSL 2018: Islamabad United beat Peshawar Zalmi in nail-biting final to clinch title

Islamabad United, who emerged champions in 2016, lifted their second title in three years after defeating Peshawar Zalmi in a historic PSL final at the National Stadium, Karachi on Sunday.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: March 26, 2018 8:01:32 am
Islamabad United, Peshawar Zalmi, PSL final, PSL final result, PSL 2018 final, Cricket, Pakistan Super League, Pakistan Super League 2018, cricket, indian express Luke Ronchi played an attacking innings in the final to help Islamabad United lift the title. (Source: PSL Twitter)

Islamabad United (ISU) beat Peshawar Zalmi (PZ)  by three wickets in a historic PSL final at the National Stadium, Karachi on Sunday. United, who emerged champions in 2016, lifted their second title in three years after defeating Zalmi, who were the victors in 2017. In a high-octane clash on Sunday, it was the bowlers who outshined their counterparts for the better part of the match as batsmen from both the teams struggled to get going. Batting first the Zalmi’s managed to score 148/9 in 20 overs. Young Shadab Khan was the pick of the bowlers as he returned with figures of 25/3 in four overs. He was ably supported by Samit Patel and Faheem Ashraf. In reply, United got off to a brisk start as Luke Ronchi played an attacking innings of 52 (26 balls) but then lost their way before a hat-trick of sixes by Asif Ali towards the end propelled the men in red to a win.

Earlier, after winning the toss Peshawar Zalmi opted to bat first. The decision was a contentious one as the pitch was not used for 4 years. But the aim to put runs on the board first backfired as they lost wickets at regular intervals and failed to stitch a good partnership. Kamran Akmal, who had been in destructive form, failed to get off to a start and was out for one. Samit Patel picked his wicket while bowling in the powerplay and gave away just 26 runs in his four overs, picking up two wickets.

Chris Jordan (36 off 26 balls) and Liam Dawson (33 off 30 balls) came together thereafter and brought a semblance in the innings with a fifty run partnership. However, the dismissal of Jordan pegged back Peshawar as they ended up with 148 on the board – probably 15 runs below-par. Shadab Khan and Hussain Talat choked their opponents by picking two wickets apiece and conceding runs at a premium.

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Chasing a tricky target of 149, ISU got off to a terrific start courtesy of a blitzkrieg knock by Luke Ronchi. Right from the first over Ronchi took on the bowlers and in his innings of 52  slammed four boundaries and five sixes. Zalmi, who have a predominantly pace attack, did have Dawson to turn the ball but he too seemed ineffective. Along with Sahibzada Farhan, Ronchi forged a match-winning opening stand of 96, putting United in the driver’s seat.

However, the departure of Ronchi in the eighth over gave a window of opportunity of Peshawar. Chris Jordan bowled an inspiring spell of fast bowling and got the wicket of JP Duminy. He was ably supported by Wahab Riaz and Umaid Asif who stemmed the flow of runs and bagged wickets. From 96/1, United were reduced to 115/5 in 13.1 overs. From thereon, Islamabad pulled things back and checked the flow of runs to put the Zalmi’s under pressure. But late strikes from Asif Ali, which included three consecutive sixes, sealed the match for the Zalmi as they reached the target with 19 balls to spare.

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