The first playoff of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017 between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators was an absolute thriller. The match went down the wire with Peshawar needing two runs of the final ball. However, great bowling by Mohammad Nawaz made sure Quetta emerge victorious in the closely fought contest. The spinner defended seven runs in the last over.
Quetta Gladiators courtesy Ahmed Shehzad’s 71 off 38 balls set Peshawar Zalmi a target of 201 runs. Despite losing early wickets, Peshawar were in the hunt till the end. The 139-run stand between David Malan and Mohammad Hafeez provided Zalmi’s the much-needed impetus. The duo scored half centuries and made sure their side maintains the required run rate. While Malan scored 56 off 30 balls, Hafeez played super innings of 77 off just 47 balls.
Zalmi’s then lost a couple of wickets in the middle, and that hampered their chase. But it was ever so mercurial Shahid Afridi who with his colossal hitting brought Peshawar back in the game. Boom Boom smashed four sixes and a four during his 13-ball 34. However, Afridi was dismissed in the penultimate over leaving Zalmi’s eight to win off seven balls with four wickets in hand.
Despite Afridi’s big hitting, Zalmi fell short of the target by just one run. Nawaz bowled a tight over to help his side book a place in finals for the second time in a row. Peshawar Zalmi, who finished on top of the points table, will get second shot at the finals as they now take on the winner of Islamabad United vs. Karachi Kings playoff two match.