LAHORE, Pakistan, (CMC) – Captain Darren Sammy’s cameo proved critical as his Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiator by 58 runs in a final overshadowed by security concerns, to lift the Pakistan Super League title here Sunday.
In the first high profile match played here in eight years, Zalmi tallied 148 for six off their 20 overs at the Gaddafi Stadium, with opener Kamran Akmal sustaining his good form with 40 and Sammy arriving at the back end to deliver a stroke-filled unbeaten 28, and earn Man-of-the-Match honours.
In reply, Gladiators never recovered from a dodgy position of 13 for three in the fifth over and crumbled to 90 all out in the 17th over.
Lahore fans express their delight at cricket’s return to Pakistan,.Zimbabwe’s Sean Ervine, drafted in for the final, top-scored with 24 while captain Sarfraz Ahmed chipped in with 22, but they were just two of three players in double figures.
Following the final which was played under tight security amidst fears of a terrorist attack, Sammy praised Pakistani superstar Shahid Afridi for influencing his decision to play in the championship game.
“To me it’s just more than a game. It first started in the draft. Lala (Afridi) made the big announcement that I would be the captain,” the two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain said.
“This trophy means a lot. Lala influenced my decision to come here. I felt tonight I brought a lot of smiles in Lahore and Peshawar. It is an amazing day. We thought with the new ball we did well. If we get 150-160 it would be a good total. We did get to 148 and our bowlers have been doing well this tournament.
“The Peshawar is not just a cricket team, we do a lot for the fans, the foundation. Thanks to the PCB, and the PSL. I am glad I came to experience the atmosphere here. Even though Peshawar came out on top, cricket was the real winner in Lahore.”
Gladiators were without their main stars, Englishmen Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Tyman Mills all of whom refused to play in the final over security fears.
Former West Indies and current Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder, Rayad Emrit, along with Ervine and South African Morne van Wyk, were drafted in as last minute replacements.
Sent in, Zalmi were powered by Akmal who put on 42 for the first wicket with Englishman Dawid Malan (17) and a further 40 for the second wicket with West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels, who made 19 from 17 deliveries with two fours and a six.
When Zalmi lost five wickets for 30 runs in the space of 40 balls, Sammy arrived to blast a four and three sixes off just 11 balls – in a 36-run, unbroken seventh wicket partnership with Barbados-born England all-rounder, Chris Jordan (8 not out), to give Zalmi momentum late on.
Seamer Emrit was the best bowler with three for 31 from his four overs.
Gladiators were never in the run chase after losing their first three wickets cheaply and their best stand came between Ervine and Anwar Ali (20), with the pair posting 35 for the sixth wicket.
Once the partnership was broken, the last five wickets fell for 18 runs with all-rounder Emrit finishing on six not out.