ISLAMABAD United lifted the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL) trophy in Dubai on Tuesday night after a clinical six-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators.

It seemed that the winners had held back their best for the ultimate day, displaying clinical efficiency to overwhelm their fancied rivals.

Quetta Gladiators, on the other hand, looked below their best for once. They never really recovered from a shaky start after losing opener Bismillah Khan on the third ball of the match.

Ahmed Shehzad and Kumar Sangakkara (55) steadied the ship with an 87-run partnership for the third wicket.

But after the latter’s dismissal, wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Shahzad, however, remained undaunted and entertained a capacity crowd to a scintillating 39-ball 64. His innings was laced with nine fours and one six.

Gladiators ended up with a respectable 174 for 7 off their 20 overs. But the total turned out to be inadequate as Dwayne Smith and Brad Haddin ripped their bowling apart through a mix of stroke play and lusty hitting.

Their 85-run partnership took the game beyond the Gladiators. Smith put on a 51-ball 73, studded with four mighty sixes and seven hits to the boundary. His partner scored 61 off 39 deliveries.

Smith was adjudged man of the match for his match-winning innings.

Ravi Bopara and Andre Russell were adjudged the best batsman and the best bowler of the tournament respectively.

Islamabad United had to play two play-offs before qualifying for the final while Quetta Gladiators had reached the final after winning their lone playoff.

Scores: Quetta Gladiators 174 for 7 (20 overs), Islamabad United 175 for 4 (18.4 overs)

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2016

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