The glittering boundaries and ultimate show of superstars has come to an end with the captain’s style finish of Pakistan Super League. The inaugural edition of PSL T20, undoubtedly, has proven itself the biggest cricketing event of Pakistan. Fans madness, city rivalries, the passion of ruling others, supporting favourite foreign players, fireworks while chasing a high-total, crowd’s contribution and of course, finding emerging talent for future backbone are few glimpses from PSL. In short, PSL hooked up every Pakistani for three weeks. People, largely followed it through live streaming around the world to witness the first ever self-made league of cornered tigers.
There were total 5 teams in the competition; Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi, Lahore Qalanders and Islamabad United who brought us the ultimate nail-bitters. The first match of the tournament was played between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators so was the last, final. The difference is that, in that first match on 4th February, the underdogs Gladiators under the leadership Sarfraz Ahmed shocked everybody by clinching the first victory from the top favourite United and continued their winning streak until Lahore Qalanders beat them. Quetta was on top of the table till the play offs. Inclusion of Kevin Peterson, Luke Wright, Ahmed Shahzad, later Kumar Sangakkara, Grant Elliot and two newly emerged players Muhammad Nawaz (all-rounder) and Bismillah Khan made Quetta the strongest opponent for every team.
The second top scorer in group stages, Peshawar Zalmi, of our vern own Shahid Khan Afridi proved to be the fantastic bunch of perfect combination. The captain Afridi, Darren Sammy, Tamim Iqbal, Wahab Riaz, Brad Hodge and Muhammad Hafeez created troubles for the opposition. How could we forget the Wahab-Ahmed rivalry on the pitch. it shouldn’t have happened but it’s a game of cricket you may expect everything from everyone. Further, the third scorer, the mighty United, who grabbed the elegant first PSL trophy, had lost initial matches but after the inclusion of Azhar Mehmood, they bounced back and started their winning streak by thrashing Karachi Kings and trend continued till lifting the trophy.
Now, the two position from down Lahore Qalanders and Karachi Kings, who were the most expensive and top two teams from two biggest cities of Pakistan, bit disappointed the fans on the main level. Karachi Kings beat LQ in both head to head matches. While LQ won only two games in entire tournament and both from top two teams Quetta and Peshawar. It was real dramatic situation while going through play offs. Both teams LQ and KK had 4 points on the table but decider was gone on Kings’ side.
The best match of PSL, IMO, was 1st play off between Peshawar and Quetta. Both teams struggled hard for next level. Match was going in Zalmi’s favour until Nawaz bowled outstanding over and got 2 for 2 and swapped the whole situation. The 2nd play off was bit one-sided. Karachi had failed to set a good target even after the change in captaincy and Islamabad easily got them and made it to the final. Final match was played and Misbah Ul Haq was declared as the first man to lift the first ever PSL trophy at Dubai Stadium. Team Quetta played really well but it was United who got victory at the end of the day.
We, Pakistanis, are so much thankful to the Najam Sethi, who took this idea from paper to the stadiums of UAE and all the managers, organizers, sponsors, viewers for making it successful. Now we can say proudly say, without fixed matches and dancing girls, we can offer interesting cricket to the cricket lovers.