Islamabad United clinched the PSL title in the inaugural edition of the T20 tournament, defeating Quetta Gladiators by six wickets at the Dubai International Stadium, Tuesday. The final produced a run feast, with Islamabad chasing Quetta's score of 174 runs in just 18.4 overs.
Islamabad, who won the toss and asked Quetta to bat first , got off to a terrific start as Mohammad Irfan produced a breakthrough in the first over of the game, dismissing Bismillah Khan for a duck. Things did not get any better for Quetta as they lost their key batsman Kevin Pietersen for 18 runs in the sixth over.
However, that did not deter Ahmed Shehzad and Kumar Sangakkara from playing their shots in the final. They got Quetta back into the game with half-centuries each. Despite losing two early wickets, the duo played shots all around the ground. Sangakkara (55, 32b) and Shehzad (64, 39b) played brilliantly to help Quetta reach a score of 174 runs in their allotted 20 overs.
The Quetta Gladiators could have scored much more in the slog overs had other batsmen such as Sarfaraz Ahmed and Grant Elliot contributed with the bat.
In reply, Islamabad openers – Sharjeel Khan and Dwayne Smith – had a spring in their stride as they came onto bat. They had to deliver in the first six overs if they wanted to win the first edition of the PSL and the opening partnership of 54 runs in 5.4 overs provided a solid platform.
Smith was the more aggressive of the two, as he smashed the Quetta bowlers for fours and sixes at will. Despite the dismissal of Sharjeel for 12 runs in the sixth over, new batsman Brad Haddin continued to play his shots alongside Smith.
Smith was was dismissed for a brilliant 51-ball 73 in the third ball of the 16th over, byt by then he had done his work. Islamabad required 36 runs from the final 27 balls, with Haddin (61, 39b) still at the batting crease. The Australian brought all his experience into to play, seeing the match through, alongside Khalid Latif, who also scored 7-ball 16, to help Islamabad win the title with eight balls to spare.
Smith was awarded the man of the match for his brilliant batting effort in the PSL final.
No one would have predicted Islamabad to clinch the PSL title, after their below par start in the competition, but they improved gradually, playing some outstanding cricket as the tournament wore on. Islamabad deservedly won the title, as they finished the PSL with five wins on the trot.