Can Darren Sammy and his side defend the title?
The third edition of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) has reached its climax now with Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United set to lock horns in the title clash. Both the teams have won the title once in the previous two seasons and would love to add yet another trophy in their cabin on Sunday. Also, Karachi would be hosting its first cricket match involving international stars and the atmosphere would be electric. However, the match is expected to be no less than a thriller with both teams giving their best.
Islamabad United began their season with a couple of losses but then stormed their way back in style and won some of the really close. They showed nerves of steel in most of their victories and most importantly their local players stepped up to the task at key moments. They would feel that yet another perfect night would bring laurels to all the hard work they’ve put in over the last month.
Peshawar Zalmi, on the other hand, were led by the inspirational Darren Sammy and have the momentum with them. They defeated Quetta Gladiators in the first eliminator in a cliffhanger and then romped past Karachi Kings in a high-scoring encounter. They have all the ingredients in their team to win the title and undoubtedly would be feeling confident after their last couple of victories.
Zalmi have been dealt with a blow as Tamim Iqbal has been ruled out with an injury to his knee. They played without him in the second eliminator and would not want to change the winning combination surely. The skipper Darren Sammy himself is not entirely fit but he has made himself available through the pain and has led his side admirably well. They will once again bank on the likes of Kamran Akmal, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz to click one final time.
Probable XI: Kamran Akmal(wk), Andre Fletcher, Mohammad Hafeez, Saad Nasim, Darren Sammy(c), Liam Dawson, Umaid Asif, Chris Jordan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sameen Gul
Misbah-ul-Haq, the skipper, is unavailable for the title clash for United due to a hairline fracture on his wrist. They will also miss the services of Alex Hales and Sam Billings who denied travelling to Pakistan. It will be interesting to see with whom they replace these key players for the most important game of the tournament. Though the likes of Samuel Badree and Chadwick Walton might come into contention. The remainder of the line-up is expected to remain the same.
Probable XI: Luke Ronchi(wk), Sahibzada Farhan, Chadwick Walton, Jean-Paul Duminy(c), Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Samit Patel, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Sami, Amad Butt
Head to Head
Overall 7 Peshawar Zalmi 3 Islamabad United 4
Focus will be on
Mohammad Hafeez (Peshawar Zalmi)
It is big time for the senior player like Mohammad Hafeez to stand up and make an impact for Zalmi. He has to perform to his potential if Zalmi are to defend the title on Sunday. So far he has scored 290 runs at an average of 29 after 11 innings at a strike rate of 115 with a couple of half-centuries to his name. Hafeez will have to make sure that he stays until the end and anchor the innings for his side in the big match. Also, a better strike rate will help his team’s cause and even he will know the fact that if he stays for a long time, Zalmi will surely win the tournament.
JP Duminy (Islamabad United)
JP Duminy arrived to play in the tournament at the right time for United as they needed a player and a skipper like him. He is the second highest run-getter for his team after playing only 9 matches as he has smashed 249 runs at an average of 41.5 and more often than not has carried the ship while batting at the top of the order. Once again, the onus will be on him with the other players around playing attacking cricket with the bat. Duminy is vastly experienced and its time that he comes to the fore on the night of the final.
Match Timings: 8:00 pm PST