In general, every match of Pakistan Super League (PSL) was gravid with the nail-biting and thrilling moments. Every team proved to be hard-nosed, wanted to win every match. While having a view on the scorecard one could be amazed of knowing the overwhelming performance by every player. However, this time fortune does not favour the owner of Lahore Qalandars, Rana Fawad. His team get squandered and kicked off the PSL without going for the playoff round. Anyhow, while talking about the most thrilling match of PSL; the first playoff match played in between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi was keenly to be watched ball by ball. From the start of this match till the last ball, both the teams were going point to point parallel. No one could say who was going to have a victory today.
Sporadically, Ahmad Shahzad proved that he could be the score-making machine for his team. Peshawar Zalmi by winning the toss gave their opponent a chance to bat first. Ahmad Shahzad kept on making the runs giving no chance to Zalmi bowlers to let him down. He plays an aggressive game naturally, tries his best to throw the ball out of the stadium. This time 71 runs on just 38 balls with a magnificent 4 sixes and 7 fours he made an exquisite strike rate of 186.84. Luke Wright while spending some moments on the ground with his partner departed for the pavilion and gave a chance to Kevin Pietersen. He beefed up the scorecard in his style by hammering 3 sixes and 2 fours with a strike rate of 181.82 on just 22 balls. These two players came up with an amusement and enjoyment for the spectators. Quetta Gladiators’ players tried their best to score well. Sarfraz Ahmad along his batsmen marked the highest score to chase for Peshawar Zalmi. 200 runs with a required run rate of 10.00 per over didn’t seem easy but the spectators were blindly reposed on Afridi’s team as he had scored 45 on 23 balls in the last encounter with the same opponent. While watching this match, we were perplexed what to say; both the teams were in full swing and all the players had a great chutzpah to win this match. Peshawar Zalmi started their turn and kept on producing the runs. D Malan coming as an opener performed his part well by scoring a half-century with a strike rate of 186.6. Meanwhile, we all just waited for Lala to step forward and show us some entertainment. The moment he stepped in the ground; we all shouted his name giving him a warm welcome. Every time he moved his bat, the spectators dutifully dropped their jaws having no idea whether it is six or catch. Lala smashed 4 giant sixes 1 four with a magnificent strike rate of 261.54 on just 13 balls. Smashing his bat for the six again, he departed to pavilion by Anwar Ali giving his catch to Muhammad Nawaz. No doubt that was not an easy catch on the boundary line by the young man. Moreover, Muhammad Hafeez also scored well with 6 sixes and 5 fours. Ball by ball, Peshawar Zalmi was ascending to make their place in the final. But the time when Afridi and Hafeez made their way to pavilion, Zalmi fans get exhausted and were losing their hope .Anyway, in the 20th over the audience dutifully oohed and aahed when they observed melodramatically some moments in the ground. Peshawar Zalmi was merely 2 runs away from their victory with the last ball remaining of the innings. Hassan Ali had to face this last ball but couldn’t hit well. Sarfraz Ahmad with rapidity pulled out the bails and that was the third time we were observing the same knockout consecutively. It proved to be the disastrous loss for Peshawar Zalmi. We were stunned by seeing how a team could lose its match when it is quite near to the victory.
Despite of this defeat, the players had won the hearts of many. They proved we are ready to make a history again; we all are gravid with a chutzpah to perform anywhere. Shahid Afridi had not performed well for a long-time as an international player but this time he showed his worth encountering with the foreign players. No one can go parallel with them when they are in full swing to deliver. Exasperatedly, these matches are not played in our grounds this time but we expect a lot from the management of PSL that they will bring international cricket in Pakistan sooner. This is what the logic behind this league. Hope so, next time our stadiums will be jam-packed and we will see the foreign players playing here without any threat and risk. Phir Seety bjay gy! Phir stage sjay ga!
By Shah Muhammad from Lahore