Quetta Gladiators held their nerves to defend eight runs in the final over bowled by medium pacer Aizaz Cheema to edge out Peshawar Zalmi by one run in the play-off to clinch a place in the final of Pakistan Super League in Dubai on Friday.
Cheema was hit for a boundary by Wahab Riaz off the second ball but after conceding a single he took two wickets off the next two ball to bring the game down to three runs off the final delivery which yielded just one run.
It was a thrilling finish for a packed 26,000 crowd, most of them heartbroken as they were backing Peshawar Zalmi but Quetta defended the modest target of 134.
It was young Mohammad Nawaz who continued to be the star for Quetta as the left-arm spinner took three wickets to derail Peshawar Zalmi.
The 23-year-old finished with 3-27 in his four overs as Quetta defended a modest 134-run target to clinch the first play-off between the two top teams of the league phase as a packed 26,000 crowd, mostly Pathans to support the Peshawar team, got their money’s worth.
Peshawar Zalmi were in the hunt when Darren Sammy scored an aggressive 29-ball 38 with a six and five boundaries to bring down the target to 50 from five overs and then 35 off three.
Sammy hit Nawaz for six, four and two before he holed out in the deep off the final delivery, leaving the target down to 21 off the last two.
Peshawar had a confident 29-run start but left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz pegged them back with two wickets in two balls, dismissing Mohammad Hafeez (15) and Brad Hodge for a first-ball duck.
New Zealand paceman Grant Elliott then sent Shahid Yousuf (15) and Jonny Bairstow (15) in successive overs, leaving the game in the balance.
Quetta were rocked at the start of their innings as Bismillah Khan (naught) and Ahmed Shehzad (six) were dismissed early and it was left to Pietersen and Kumar Sangakkara (37) built their innings through their 79-run stand for the third wicket.
Pietersen hit five boundaries and two sixes in his 38-ball knock while Sangakkara knocked six boundaries in his 29-ball knock.
But once they parted paceman Wahab Riaz ran through the innings with 3-17 and Shaun Tait took 2-23.
Karachi Kings face Islamabad in the eliminator on Saturday. The winner of the eliminator will play Peshawar on Sunday.