Ahmed Shehzad top-scored for Quetta Gladiators © Getty Images
Ahmed Shehzad top-scored for Quetta Gladiators © Getty Images

Ahmed Shehzad offered the Pakistan selectors a reminder of his abilities with a sparkling 64 off 39 balls, while Kumar Sangakkara continued dominate with a 32-ball 55 to guide Quetta Gladiators to a challenging 174 for 7 against Islamabad United in the final of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2016 at Dubai on Tuesday. Bismillah Khan was dismissed in the first over of the match and Kevin Pietersen was out for an uncharacteristically slow run-a-ball 18 before Shehzad and Sangakkara combined in what could prove to be a match-winning 87-run partnership. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2016, Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators, Final at Dubai

Mohammad Irfan got the ball rolling for Islamabad United early on by taking out Bismillah for a 3-ball duck in the first over of the match. Pietersen and Shehzad then put on 33 before Andre Russell, in his first over, got Pietersen to mis-hit one to the deep where Asif Ali took an excellent catch. That brought in Sangakkara, who was fluent almost from the start. LIVE CRICKET BLOG: Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2016, Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators, Final at Dubai

Shehzad and Sangakkara soon got into the groove, and smashed everything that came their way. Imran Khalid, Samuel Badree, and Dwayne Smith took a bulk of the punishment, but Mohammad Sami managed to bowl a few tight overs. Russell soon kicked back with Sangakkara’s wicket, following which Quetta suffered a slight collapse. Irfan and Russell reduced Quetta Gladiators from 120 for 2 to 168 for 7 but a few late strikes from Grant Elliott and Anwar Ali pushed Quetta past the 170-mark.

For Islamabad United Russell was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 36 including the scalps of Pietersen, Sangakkara, and Anwar. Irfan took 2 for 25, accounting for Bismillah and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, while Badree and Sami took a wicket each. Islamabad United are now faced with chasing 175 to win the inaugural edition of PSL.

Brief scores:

Quetta Gladiators 174 for 7 in 20 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 64, Kumar Sangakkara 55; Andre Russell 3 for 36) vs Islamabad United.

Full Scorecard

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)