Players of Quetta Gladiators celebrate after winning the PSL final on Sunday. Agence France-Presse
Karachi : Quetta Gladiators defeated Peshawar Zalmi by eight wickets with two overs to spare in the final match of the Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium in Karachi on Sunday.
Earlier, after winning the toss and opting to field, Gladiators restricted Zalmi to 138/8 in 20 overs.
Zalmi made a faltering start by losing their opener Imam ul Haq (3) in the second over but Kamran Akmal hit 15-ball 21 to steady the inning.
After the departure of Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Amin scored 20-ball 20 and 33-ball 38 respectively to carry the momentum before a middle-order collapse.
Skipper DJG Sammy scored 18 from 16 balls and Wahab Riaz hit 12 off 8 balls help their team to reach the modest total.
For Gladiators, Mohammad Hasnain and DJ Bravo claimed three and two wickets respectively while Mohammad Nawaz and Fawad Ahmed bagged one each.
Meanwhile, Legendary Spanish footballer Carles Puyol was among thousands of cricket fans at the National Stadium to witness the Pakistan Super League twenty20 final on Sunday.
Puyol, a former Barcelona defender, is in the southern port city of Karachi to promote next month’s exhibition matches in Pakistan.
Brazilian Kaka will be among a host of other international footballers who will be taking part in Lahore and Karachi.
“It’s an amazing welcome, the people are very friendly. I’m very happy to be here,” Puyol told a capacity crowd of 32,000 present when he was invited onto the stage during a colorful closing ceremony.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has hosted this year’s eight PSL games in Karachi in a bid to convince foreign team to resume playing international cricket in Pakistan.
Twenty six PSL games were organised in the UAE this year, but PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said during the closing ceremony that from next year the entire PSL schedule will be staged in Pakistan.
Curtains fell on the PSL 2019 during a simple but impressive and star-filled closing ceremony that was attended by Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah.
The ceremony was kept at a low note as spectators, players and officials observed a one-minute silence for all those who lost their lives in the heinous attacks on the mosques on Friday in Christchurch in New Zealand.
The “city of lights”, as Karachi is fondly called, reverberated with songs and chants from the spectators during the week-long spectacle, declared as “the week of cricket festival” by the Sindh government. The theme of these matches was “I love cricket”.
The closing ceremony had light music with famous singer Abrar ul Haq, Junoon, Fawad Khan featuring Young Desi, Aima Baig and Shuja Haider and Sahir Ali Bagga performing.
Mani welcomed crowd:
“We are ready for the final,” said Mani. “Around 250,000 people have watched the matches in the stadium in the last week and millions on television.
“One should remember that its cricket which brings happiness.
“We thank the government of Pakistan, our armed forces and government of Sindh for helping us stage these matches.”
Mani thanked all the 39 foreign players who visited Karachi for the final leg of the tournament, saying, “I would like to thank all the foreign players and officials. You have seen for yourself the passion of people here and we hope to see you for all the PSL matches in Pakistan next year,” said Mr Mani.
Sindh Chief Minister, Ali Shah, also vowed to bring international cricket back in Pakistan after the successful staging of the PSL finals for two years.
“Two years ago, I promised that we will bring the PSL matches to Karachi,” said Shah. “Last year, we hosted the final and this year we staged eight matches here.
“I salute the fans of Karachi who despite all problems helped us stage the final.