The National Stadium of Karachi erupted with joy yesterday night after a dramatic finish to the Pakistan Super League 2018 as Islamabad United defeated Peshawar Zalmi by three wickets to win their second PSL title in three seasons. Luke Ronchi was both the Man of the Match and Man of the Tournament substantiating the rightful claim of Islamabad on the throne.
Peshawar Zalmi, who ended the group stage on the third position, defeated the Quetta Gladiators and Karachi Kings in consecutive matches to set up the Final clash against Islamabad United who was the most consistent team in the league so far. The venue for this match was decided to be the National Stadium, Karachi which hosted International stars after a gap of nine years.
Choosing to bat first, much was expected from the highest run-getter in the PSL so far, Kamran Akmal. Samit Patel trapped Akmal LBW and removed Hafeez in quick succession as well. The Zalmis surprised everyone by promoting Chris Jordan to number four position. Dawson proved out to be a good support. Yet at 121/9 in the 18th over, it was far less than a competitive total.
It was then that Wahab Riaz knocked Islamabad out of their senses with a blinding assault. He swung around his bat and scored runs from the weirdest of shots. His hurricane innings of 28*(14) took Peshawar to a respectable 148/9 in 20 overs.
Taking the number one spot at the highest run-getter tally, Luke Ronchi played another stunning knock to suck out any challenge that remained in the modest target. When he got out after scoring 26-ball 52, ISL needed only 53 runs from 67 balls with 9 wickets in hand, Cakewalk… in most cases.
— Islamabad United (@IsbUnited) March 25, 2018
The twist arrived when Peshawar hit back by taking six wickets in the next twenty runs! Islamabad was 116/6 with 33 runs needed from 36 balls. Keeper Kamran Akmal dropped a chance of Asif Ali in the next over and that was the last chance that PZ had to win.
Asif Ali surmounted an incredible onslaught and took the wind out of the sail by hitting 26 runs in the next 6 balls. Riaz struck late but it was not enough. The Islamabad team cruised to the victory with 13 balls remaining. The triumphant jubilation set the city of Karachi alive.
Islamabad United swooped the awards of both the highest run-getter and the highest wicket-taker as Luke Ronchi (435 runs) and Faheem Ashraf (18 wickets) reigned supreme. Peshawar ended second here too with Kamran Akmal and Wahab Riaz ending at the second spot.
The beautiful event of PSL this year went ahead without any major controversy and it was successful in playing three matches in Pakistan without any trouble. The good days in Pakistan Cricket are here.