The first T20 tournament was the ICC World Cup (2007) in South Africa. Since then, this format has become a great hit for the cricket fans all over the world. This format was soon adapted into a league system, resulting in famous international leagues such as IPL and BBL starting from the year 2008 and 2011 respectively. Nobody knew that PSL would be the next big thing.
Things became extra special for us when Pakistan Super League was introduced in 2016. Islamabad United won the title last year. The second season of PSL 2017 was much awaited by all. This was because we saw it climb the ladder further to match the class and the excitement of the other international leagues.
PSL 2017 was studded with a string of fine performances throughout the season. This tournament reached to an astonishing 6817 runs scored, including 810 boundaries and 314 dismissals! We, at Daily Punch, have brought the top ten most exciting and enjoyable moments of the tournament for you:
1. KP’s 88 off 42 (Match 11)
Gladiators were chasing 201 runs. Last six overs of the game, Quetta still required 82 runs with six wickets in hand. They needed a handy innings to get them over the line. Kevin Pietersen was in a blistering form as he scored an entertaining 88 off just 42 deliveries! Consequently, he won the Player of the Match award.
KP took the game away from Lahore in the 18th over. He belted Irfan Jr. with four towering sixes in the same over with just 15 being required off the last two overs. What an extraordinary performance! Surely a top moment in this season.
2. The Bat Drop Moment (Match 14)
Islamabad had set a target of 146 for Lahore to chase. The Qalandars lost nine wickets in the process before the middle order batsmen from New Zealand provided viewers with one of the best moments. The match went right down to the wire. With six required off five balls with one wicket in hand, Grant Elliot helped his team win the match by hitting an awesome six. It was followed by an eye-catching celebration, the unique Bat Drop Moment!
3. Press it Up, Pollard! (Match 18)
This was no less than a thriller as the rivals Karachi and Lahore were head to head. Karachi were determined to cause an upset as a win would see them matching up with Lahore with one game in hand to be played, while Lahore were playing their last game. It was a must-win for both!
Chasing 156 runs, Karachi needed 53 runs off 29 balls when Pollard played an outstanding knock, scoring 45 off 20 by hitting four sixes and a four. Last 10 runs came in the last two balls with back to back sixes! This might have just pumped up the man from Trinidad as he went for a ‘Press up’ celebration, leaving us with another moment to cherish.
4. That Last Over From Sami, Though (Match 17)
Quetta Gladiators were chasing 167 and required just 5 runs off the last over with 6 wickets in hand. However, they lost the match, courtesy of a brilliant over from Mohammed Sami from Islamabad United. The birthday boy did his best not to ruin his day as he bowled 3 crucial dot balls giving away just 3 runs.
Dwayne Smith’s direct hit from the deep that saw Anwar Ali depart the field. It might have just saved the game from going in to a super over. Surely a nail-biting moment in the competition, as Misbah-ul-Haq guided his troops to a one run victory!
5. Boom Boom Time (Match 19)
Quetta Gladiators could only manage a total of 128 before being bowled out.It was an easy target for Zalmis. They had a good start as they were 50 for one, but it was chaos half an hour in to their batting. They lost five wickets for just two runs including their captain, Darren Sammy.
Nevertheless, in stepped ‘Lala’ with only one thing in his mind. Regardless of the collapse and the bowler being on a hat- rick, his first shot was airborne as the ball fell just short of the fielder in the deep! That was the only just the beginning. BOOM BOOM Afridi scored 45 off 22 in no time. The blistering innings excited the crowd as they witnessed another match winning cameo from the legend.
6. NightinGayle Finally got Singing (Match 20)
One of the most expensive players in the PSL, Chris Gayle was a big money signing for the Karachi Kings. Expectations were huge, but it is fair to say that the big man was disappointing with his display as he had just managed 59 runs in six games.
The fixture against Islamabad saw Gayle cut loose as he managed a destructive innings scoring 44 off just 17, earning him the Man of the Match award. This was pure joy and a sight of relief for the Karachi fans as they know how important Gayle’s form was to ensure their dominance over the rest.
7. The Record-Breaking Partnership
The first play off game between the Zalmi’s and Gladiators was a run feast which saw two great partnerships, one for each side. Game started with Quetta batting and it was the pair of Shehzad and Pietersen to first lift the crowd off their seats. Shehzad was batting as if he had a train to catch. They build up a 90 run partnership with Shehzad making 71 off 39.
Second innings revealed a record breaking partnership. Zalmi lost two early wickets, but Hafeez and Malan at the crease saw Zalmi come back in the game scoring 77 and 56 respectively as they built a record breaking third wicket partnership for 139 runs, highest ever in PSL so far!
The game ended with an epic last over as Peshawar was not able to score 7 runs. The pair’s hard work and Afridi’s quick 34 off 14 later down the order went all in vain. The last three balls saw three wickets for Quetta resulting in a thrilling end to what was one of the top matches of the tournament.
8. The Best Catch! Sanga Vs Sammy (Match 3)
While the fans were busy competing in the ‘Catch a Crore’ contest, Sammy grabbed a blinder in the slips as Babar Azam nicked one on Hassan Ali’s delivery. It was no doubt a stunner followed by the epic celebration with a team selfie. Ian Bishop, the commentator, had said that this would be the best catch in the tournament and that if a better catch would be taken, he would change his name!
I am not sure if the fans were listening to him waiting for a catch in the stands. Nonetheless, the talisman from Sri Lanka surely did. In the second play off against Islamabad United, he brought us the best catch in the competition.
A screamer from Sangakara behind the stumps as Dwayne Smith edged one behind on Amir’s delivery. Sangakara was airborne and on full stretch like a superman. It was better than Sammy’s effort surely and now it is up to Ian to change his name.
9. Kamran’s Rampage Batting (Final Play off)
The stage was set for a heartbreak as Zalmis took their second chance to reach the Final.
Batting first, Peshawar managed a high scoring total of 181 runs, credit to Kamran Akmal’s fantastic innings as he made the Karachi fans feel obnoxious all day long. He became the second player after Sharjeel Khan to score a ton in the PSL scoring 104 runs off 65 balls! Kamran’s innings was entertaining as he struck 6 boundaries and 7 sixes, cosequently becoming the highest scorer with the bat, this season. His knock was crucial as Karachi lost the match by 24 runs.
10. Full House at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
The Final being held in Lahore was not assured until few days ago. International players had to make their choice of travelling to Pakistan once the venue was finalized. The Gladiators lost all their key players as none of them dared to travel, considering the security issues. On the contrary, we saw that Peshawar managed to convince their players. A strong starting XI were announced as the team sheets were released. Even the cricket-thirst Pakistani crowd was at full attendance!
— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) March 5, 2017
The occasion had left many speechless. Emotions ran through every Pakistani witnessing a packed stadium hosting a massive game with international players performing on their turf after exactly 8 years. What it felt that night was a win for every Pakistani, as the day ended without any mishaps.
Everybody was over the moon. They had never expected this after what had happened to the Sri Lankan Cricket team back in 2009.
The day started with an engaging and appealing ceremony for the Final. Actors Ahmed Ali Butt and Ayesha Omer hosted the show. Ali Zafar, Fakhir Mehmood & Ali Azmat took the center stage and pumped the crowd with their singing. Ali Zafar blew the crowd away when he sung the title song of the PSL ” AB KHEL JAMAY GA”. The players also enjoyed some time on the stage as we can see below.
A Fitting end to the PSL 2017 Campaign
It was victory for every Pakistani that night. Peshawar Zalmi clinched the title, becoming the second team to win the prestigious HBL PSL 2017 season. The ceremony and the match both succeeded in entertaining everybody to the core. The crowd cheered immensely, and the best part was when everybody sang DIL DIL PAKISTAN together!