DUBAI - Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United are all set for the clash of titans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final to be played here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium today (Tuesday).

The country’s first ever Twenty20 league exploded into action on February 4 with five teams vying for the top honours and now it is going to conclude on Tuesday with the holding of total 24 matches.

Quetta remained consistent throughout the event having won seven out of nine matches so far and defeated Peshawar Zalmi in the first qualifying final to secure their final berth. However, Islamabad's route to the final was not easy, as first they had to trounce Karachi Kings and then Peshawar Zalmi to book final berth against Quetta. Islamabad on their way to the final won six out ten matches they played so far.

After the round robin stages, Peshawar Zalmi were on top at the points table having 12 points with better run rate over Quetta Gladiators who also had 12 points from identical number of matches but having lesser run-rate.

The virtual semifinal of the PSL was between Islamabad and Peshawar which was comprehensively won by the former – thanks to heroics of Sharjeel Khan (117 runs) and Imran (4-20). This emphatic victory over Zalmi has given Islamabad further confidence for the title match against high-flying Gladiators but still they have to deliver their best.

The head-to-head record of Quetta and Islamabad suggests the former as favourites. Quetta won both matches against Islamabad in the league stages of the league. Quetta outplayed Islamabad on both the occasions, winning the PSL opener by eight wickets and the second game by seven wickets.

The final seems not to be an easy going for any of the finalists as both have to struggle hard become the crowned champions of the inaugural PSL. Both the sides seem to be balanced but the one which will keep their nerves in this pressure match will emerge as triumphant.

Quetta has batting strength in Kevin Pietersen, Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfaraz Ahmed while United batting revolves around Sharjeel Khan, Brad Haddin, Dwayne Smith and captain Misbahul Haq himself. As far as bowling is concerned the key bowlers for Quetta are Aizaz Cheema, Anwar Ali, M Nawaz and Zulfiqar Babar while United bowling revolves around Imran Khalid, M Irfan, M Sami and Andre Russell.

The cricket fans have been showering immense love and appreciation to the series, as the final match in Dubai has already been sold out for the 25,000 capacity stadium. PSL chairman Najam Sethi used his Twitter account to announce this accomplishment and tweeted: “I am pleased to announce that it is house full for PSL final on 23rd February. All tickets sold out.”

Quetta captain Sarfraz Ahmad was glad for his team’s tremendous performance throughout the tournament and confident of winning the PSL title. “All credit goes to boys who really worked hard to reach the final. All the players are committed and united and have just one aim that is to lift the coveted PSL trophy.”

United captain Misbahul Haq said: “Team performed well against Peshawar Zalmi and bowlers and batsman contributed equally in the team’s triumph. We will play the final as normal match like we played knockout and other matches. We will give our best to win this prestigious event.”


GLADIATORS: Kevin Pietersen, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Jason Holder, Luke Wright, Zulfiqar Babar, Umar Gul, Elton Chigumbura, Bilal Asif, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Nawaz, Saad Nasim, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Bismillah Khan, Kumar Sangakkara, Aizaz Cheema, Ramiz Raja Jr.

UNITED: Andre Russell, Misbah ul Haq (c), Samuel Badree, M Irfan, Brad Haddin, Sharjeel Khan, M Sami, Khalid Latif, Babar Azam, Imran Khalid, Kamran Ghulam, Umar Amin, Sam Billings, Rumman Raees, Amad Butt, Ashar Zaidi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Siddiq.