Eliminator 1: The thriller that Lahore deserved
Lahore the host of the final in the previous season of the PSL, a city filled with cricket lovers was once again ready and all set to host the do or die encounter. A Win for either Quetta or Peshawar meant a chance to play against the Kings for a place in the grand finale. Both of them had already tasted the knock out stages in a combined total of seven times in the previous seasons of the PSL. This time the match would be even more exhilarating due to the number of foreign players who had agreed to come.
Sarfraz won the toss and sent Peshawar to bat on a flat track with very little to offer for the bowlers at the Gadhafi Stadium Lahore. In words of the commentators it was a 180 pitch. Rain delayed the start of the match, but not enough to decrease the number of overs.
Tamim Iqbal opened the innings well for Peshawar but on the other end Akmal and Fletcher failed to impress on the big occasion. Nawaz got rid of Tamim but Hafeez, once again the man for the crisis chipped in along with Dawson to get Peshawar on track once again. Dawson’s fifty was especially helpful to get Peshawar to 157.
To chase this target on a good batting track with a strong batting line up looked like a walk in the park for the Gladiators. But Hassan Ali had different ideas, as he picked up two early wickets to give Peshawar hope. Then Nawaz and Sarfraz put together a partnership of 63 runs of only 45 balls and were running away with the game when a sudden burst of two wickets by Sameen Gul put a brake on their progress.
The game could tilt in anyone’s favor. It kept swinging until another double removed the dangerous Russouw and Mahmudullah in the same over. With 30 runs needed in 3 Overs, the stage was set for a thriller. Sammy’s decision to give the next two overs to Hassan And Wahab paid off as they conceded only 5 runs and sent Perera back to the pavilion.
In the last over 25 runs were needed and Dawson was given the responsibility against Anwar Ali, who had only managed 5 runs off 8 balls. Under pressure, Anwar managed to score ten runs in the first two balls. With 15 runs of four balls to go Dawson bowled an important dot ball an now it seemed to be all over. Anwar Ali show held his nerve to hit two maximums in the next two balls, this turned the game from a definite win for Peshawar into a Nail biter. With 3 required of the last balls, fans from both teams were on the edge of their seats.
Three runs would mean a win for Quetta, two runs for a super over one run to see the men in yellow through to the next stage. Finally the last bowl was hit, it looked like it’d be another big one from Anwar, but shockingly it ended up inside the ground and on the boundary it was a straight forward catch. But the drama was yet to be over as the sitte was dropped by Umaid Asif, and it was almost misfielded for four but the fielder kept his calm and redeemed himself with a clean throw to Dawson, getting the Mir Hamza run out. Peshawar held their nerve to win, a limping Skipper Sammy, knelt on the ground in joy.
Sending the praises up to the Most High for showing me once again that he is the true leader whilst i act as Captain..Thank you for Mercies Dear Lord What a game today. So proud of my team.. Together Everyone Achieves More #TEAM #yellowstorm #Zalmi #hblpsl #ClarasBoy #Choc… pic.twitter.com/2TEilt27t6
— Daren Sammy (@darensammy88) March 20, 2018
The first eliminator was perhaps everything the crowd could ask for. Hope we find the same level of drama again today.