In-form Islamabad United continued their comeback with a thumping six-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators to lift the inaugural Pakistan Super League title before a packed Dubai stadium on Tuesday.
Opener Dwayne Smith hit a rampaging 51-ball 73 and Brad Haddin notched a brilliant 39-ball 61 not out to help Islamabad overhaul a challenging 175-run target in 18.4 overs.
Quetta had threatened to post a big total with Kumar Sangakkara’s 32-ball 55 and Ahmed Shehzad’s 39-ball 64 to post 174-7 after they were put into bat on a flat pitch.
But Islamabad were on a roll as they won their fifth match in succession including the last two league games, eliminator, play-off and the final much to the delight of their motivator legendary Pakistan paceman Wasim Akram.
Smith and Haddin punished the Quetta bowlers who had no answer to the West Indian-Australian company who added 85 for the second wicket. That followed Islamabad’s quick start of 54 in 5.4 overs with Sharjeel Khan scoring only 13.
Smith, who hit seven fours and four sixes, departed with just 36 needed and it was left to Khalid Latif who smashed three boundaries to bring down the target to two runs. It was befittingly the skipper Misbah-ul-Haq who hit the winning single.
Haddin smashed five sixes and two boundaries in another ruthless batting display.
The winners get a glittering Cup and a cash prize of 0.5 million dollars while the runners-up fetched 0.2 million dollars.
Misbah was deligted at his team’s effort.
“We staged a comeback after a few losses and the kind of resilience showed by the team is remarkable and that has made us worthy champions of the PSL,” said Misbah.
Quetta were put back on track by Shehzad and Sangakkara who stitched together a 87-run stand to lift their team from 33-2, having lost Kevin Pietersen for a 17-ball 18.
Sangakkara took some time to come out of the groove, hitting a four and a six off Dwayne Smith to complete his fifty off 30 balls. He was finally dismissed in the deep off Russell who with 3-36 became the highest wicket-taker with 16.
Quetta had looked to Shehzad but he too fell in the slog overs, caught off Mohammad Sami. It was Sami who bowled a good penultimate over, conceding only a boundary.
Grant Elliott hit a last ball six to take Quetta to a respectable total.