Dwayne Smith © IANS (File Photo)
Dwayne Smith scored a match-winning 73 off 51 balls © IANS (File Photo)

Dwayne Smith smashed a match-winning 73 off 51 balls and Brad Haddin struck an unbeaten 39-ball 61 to lead Islamabad United to a 6-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators in the final of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2016 at Dubai on Tuesday. He was ably aided by Sharjeel Khan and Brad Haddin in the process. Quetta Gladiators would have felt confident of defending their total of 174 for 7 after Ahmed Shehzad and Kumar Sangakkara had scored half-centuries, but the way Smith and Sharjeel started off made the match seem quite one-sided. Smith and Sharjeel put on 54 runs in 5.4 overs before Nathan McCullum bowled the latter for 13, but No. 3 batsman Haddin continued where Sharjeel left off. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2016, Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators, Final at Dubai

At the other end Smith was unstoppable. He hit 7 fours and 4 sixes in his 51-ball 73, finally getting dismissed with a mere 36 runs to win. Khalid Latif then came in and tonked 3 fours in a 7-ball 16, but the winning runs were scored by skipper Misbah-ul-Haq in his indomitable fashion: with a single to midwicket. Haddin’s excellent 39-ball 61 not out was instrumental in the chase as well. LIVE CRICKET BLOG: Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2016, Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators, Final at Dubai

Earlier, 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. 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.

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.

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) lose to Islamabad United 175 for 4 in 18.4 overs (Dwayne Smith 73, Brad Haddin 61*; Anwar Ali 1 for 29) by 6 wickets.

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)