In a repeat of the 2017 Pakistan Super League final, Peshawar Zalmi will lock horns with Quetta Gladiators in the PSL 2019 summit clash on Sunday. Zalmi will hope to repeat the same result this time as they will attempt to win their second title. The side led by Darren Sammy has topped the round robin stage this season and will hope to go one better than the last season when they lost the title clash to Islamabad United.
Zalmi have entered the final after a thumping 48-run victory over the defending champions and will feel confident going into the title match against Gladiators, despite the opponent handing them three of their four defeats this season.
Here is a look at Peshawar Zalmi’s road to PSL 2019 final:
Entering the tournament as the runners-up of the previous season, Peshawar Zalmi got off to a poor start. The side faced Quetta Gladiators in their opening contest and were asked to bat first. With opening batsman Kamran Akmal and Misbah ul-Haq scoring 49 runs each, Peshawar scored 155/4 in 20 overs. Kamran’s brother Umar smashed a 50-ball 75 in reply for Gladiators, leading them to a 6-wicket win with 2 balls remaining. It was not the start Peshawar were hoping for.
Hasan Ali magic
The defeat in the first two games did little to hamper Peshawar’s confident and they picked up two big wins in their next two games, courtesy seamer Hasan Ali. Against Lahore Qalandars, Ali picked up 4 wickets as the opponents were bundled out for 78. Peshawar chased down the total in just 10.1 overs with 7 wickets in hand. In their next game, the pacer again picked up 4 wickets as Karachi Kings could just reach 109/9 in reply to Zalmi’s 154.
The repeat of 2018 final
Next up, Peshawar were given the opportunity to avenge the 2018 final defeat against Islamabad United. But chasing down the target of 159, the side were bowled out for 146 with Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Musa picking up three wickets each for Islamabad. It was Peshawar’s second defeat in four games and things were starting to look bleak.
Peshawar Zalmi bounced back from the results and picked up three close wins on the trot to boost their position in the table. After bowling out Multan Sultans for 145 in their next game, courtesy Hasan Ali’s another four-for, Peshawar had to fight hard to push for the win, which they eventually achieved with 5 wickets in hand and 2 balls remaining. In their next game against the same opponent, Peshawar pulled off another final over victory to chase down 173, with Umar Amin scoring 54 in 37 balls and Kieron Pollard smashing 52 in 27 balls. In the next game, Liam Dawson smashed an unbeaten 52 in 35 balls while skipper Darren Sammy hammered 40 runs in 20 balls, as Peshawar chased down 177 in a final ball thriller.
Peshawar’s three-match winning streak was ended by Quetta Gladiators, who won their second consecutive encounter against the side in the tournament. The eight-wicket defeat dropped Peshawar to the second place in the table, but they pulled themselves back up, defeating Lahore Qalandars by 4 wickets and 1 ball remaining in another close contest in their next game. In their final round robin game, Peshawar smashed 203/7 in 20 overs, courtesy a 46-ball 86 by Akmal. In reply, Karachi Kings were bowled out for 142, handing Zalmi a 61-run win. Peshawar took the top top spot in the table on the basis of Net Run Rate, tied at 14 points with Gladiators.
For the third time in the season, Peshawar were handed a defeat by Quetta Gladiators in the first Eliminator, thus giving themselves an edge and resting period before the summit clash. Peshawar had to contest against their 2018 final opponent Islamabad United for the third time this season in the second Eliminator to make way to the final. With Akmal smashing 74 runs in 43 balls and Imam-ul-Haq hammering 33 in 58 balls, Zalmi reached 214/5 in 20 overs. The defending champions could reach 166/9 in 20 overs and had to bow out from the tournament.