DUBAI: Aizaz Cheema took two wickets including the key one of Wahab Riaz in the last over to help Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi by only 1 run to reach the final of first-ever Pakistan Super League (PSL) here on Friday.
Riaz got out on the penultimate delivery of the final over ironically caught by Ahmed Shehzad, who was involved with him in a collision when they faced each other in their encounter during the league stages.
Mohammad Asghar could not hit the much needed boundary on the last ball giving away Gladiators the victory in a nail-biting finish to the match.
Besides Wahab Riaz, only Darren Sammy put some resistance in the Gladiators way to the victory scoring 38 runs off 29 balls.
Grant Elliottt and Mohammad Nawaz grabbed three wickets each while Cheema ended up with two wickets for 34 and Anwar Ali with a wicket for 28 runs. Nawaz was given the man of the match award for his brilliant all-round performance.
Earlier, despite glimpses of brilliance from Kevin Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara, Quetta Gladiators managed to post a moderate target of 134 for Peshawar Zalmi in the first playoff at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Pietersen made a 38-ball 53 including 5 fours and 2 sixes while the Sri Lanka great scored 37 off 29 with 6 fours. After that it was only Mohammad Nawaz who could score in double figures. He made 20 off 18.
Rest of the batsmen came and departed one after the another, failing to cope with a relatively bowling friendly Dubai pitch.
Wahab Riaz was brilliant with the ball grabbing three wickets for only 17 runs while his fast bowling partner Shaun Tait took two wickets for 23 runs.
Hasan Ali, Mohammad Asghar, Shahid Afridi and Darren Sammy shared a wicket each for Zalmi.
Peshawar Zalmi skipper Shahid Afridi had won the toss and elected to field first here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium earlier in the evening.
Speaking at the toss, Afridi said they have made two changes for the match as Jonny Bairstow comes in for Tamim Iqbal and youngster Hassan Ali gets a game.
“It is a fresh pitch. Our bowling has been very good… That’s why we’ve decided to bowl first,” said Shahid Afridi.
Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfraz Ahmed said: “It is a big match. Hopefully, we qualify for the final. We have had great support from Quetta”.
He said they have made two changes as well. Mohammad Nabi of Afghanistan has left to prepare for upcoming Asia Cup replaced by Nathan McCullum of New Zealand and Pakistani pacer Aizaz Cheema is in too.
NEO Monitoring Desk