Hazratullah Zazai (44-ball), Jonathan Wells (43-ball 55*) and Shoaib Malik (10-ball 32*) smashed Islamabad United all around the park in the Eliminator 2 and led Peshawar Zalmi to their fourth Pakistan Super League final on Tuesday (June 22). They won the game by eight wickets and will now come face to face against Multan Sultans in the final on Thursday.
Zazai, who came in as one of the replacements for the Abu Dhabi-leg matches, belted six fours and four maximums in his third half-century in fourth appearance. Wells, who came out of room isolation on Sunday and held an extra training session before the match, stayed unbeaten and only left the field when the job was done, as the 2017, 2018 and 2019 finalists achieved the 175-run target in just 16.5 overs.
The two batsmen added 126 runs for the second wicket off 81 balls after they had joined hands following the departure of Kamran Akmal at the score of 15. With 34 runs needed off 33 balls, Zazai was bowled by Mohammad Wasim Jnr, but Malik and Wells ensured there was no repeat of Monday’s late crisis as Zalmi romped to victory with 19 balls to spare.
Zazai, who scored an unbeaten 62-ball 162 for Afghanistan against Ireland in a T20I in February 2019, reached his half-century from 39 balls with his third six, while Wells matched his partner stroke-by-stroke by reaching his half-century from 38 balls with his sixth boundary.
It was a forgettable evening for Islamabad, who had topped the table with eight wins from 10 matches.
Defending a decent total, Hasan Ali started with two no-balls, his first of the tournament, to finish with 1 for 43 in 3.5 overs, while Shadab Khan went for 55 runs from his four overs, including 21 runs in his third over and 18 in his final over. Wasim picked the wicket of Zazai but conceded 32 runs in his three overs.
Earlier, a blistering 61-run ninth-wicket partnership off 24 balls between Hasan Ali and Wasim lifted Islamabad from a precarious 110 for 8 in the 16th over to a highly respectable 174 for 9 in 20 overs.
Hasan once again displayed his potentials as a batsman who can effectively use the long handle by clobbering five fours and three sixes in a 16-ball 45 cameo. Wasim also showed signs of an all-rounder in the making by slapping two sixes in an 11-ball 17*.
Hasan and Wasim scored 22 runs from the 17th over, bowled by Umaid Asif, and 18 runs off the penultimate over, bowled by Wahab Riaz, to ruin the figures of the two fast bowlers, who finished with two wickets apiece conceding 44 and 35 respectively.
The final over of the innings yielded 16 runs as the late assault brought the smiles back in the dugout, which had looked gloomy and worried after the side that finished on the top of the leaderboard after the league matches, had slipped from 71 for 2 in the eighth over to 110 for 8 in the 16th over. However, these runs didn't really make a difference in the end.
(With inputs from PSL release)