WTC Final: New Zealand’s road to Southampton
17 June 2021
Islamabad United vs Peshawar Zalmi was supposed to be a high voltage clash and boy did it turn out to be one at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi! Having conceded 247 in the first innings, anyone would have hardly given Zalmi a chance to come back into this game and come as close as requiring 38 from the last two overs.
But they did courtesy some fiery innings by experienced domestic pair of Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik and most importantly a threatening cameo by Sherfane Rutherford, who scored 29 off eight balls. Later on, some lusty blows by skipper Wahab Riaz and Iron Man Umaid Asif stretched the chase till the final two overs.
However, as the result turned out to be, the team from Peshawar was left ruining conceding so many runs as they lost the game by 15 runs, after scoring only seven in the last over, bowled brilliantly by Akif Javed. By virtue of that loss, the Zalmi ended on 10 points from 10 games in the league and would now have to wait for other games’ results to confirm its birth in the final.
Malik top-scored for the black and yellow brigade with 36 balls 68 while Akmal also scored his second fifty of the tournament. For Islamabad, left haded pacer Javed was most successful, picking three wickets for 43 runs to go along with his last over heroics. Zafar Gohar was the most expensive bowler going for 64 runs in his four overs.
Reacting to the loss, Zalmi skipper Riaz said, “We are disappointed, but this was also our first-day game here in the second leg, so we will try to do better next time and come back stronger.”
Earlier in the day, after winning the toss, Zalmi invited Usman Khawaja’s team to bat first. Khawaja who was leading the team in Shadab Khan’s absence as the latter was rested, grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring his maiden PSL fifty and then going on to convert it into a maiden hundred. This was also the first time in PSL’s history that a captain scored a century in a match.
On the back of his 56 balls 105 and some clean hitting by the likes of Asif Ali, Brandon Kings and Colin Munro, United achieved the highest total in PSL history. Their 247-2 was eight runs more than their own total of 238 achieved by them during the 2019 PSL. For Zalmi, almost every bowler was expensive except for Shoiab Malik who picked a wicket after conceding just 14 runs in his two overs.
Much like Wahab, Khawaja too conceded that bowlers were not on money and that they were one bowler short. “It was a great team effort considering there were several players not playing. I won't be taking anything away from the bowlers considering the main bowlers were resting,” he said.
With this win, the United have now reached 14 points winning seven of their nine games and with one to go, they would look to end on a high. In their last game, United will take on Multan Sultans in the last game of the league stage on June 19.