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Cheema's last over heroics take Quetta Gladiators to finals

Cheema's last over heroics take Quetta Gladiators to finals
Wahab Riaz performance of three-wicket haul and a 16-ball 22 went in vain.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Quetta Gladiators 133 (Pietersen 53) beat
Peshawar Zalmi 132-9 (Sammy 38) by one-run
First qualifying final, Pakistan Super League, Dubai

Aizaz Cheema bowled a fabulous final over where he conceded just six runs and went on to pick two wickets as Quetta Gladiators defeated Peshawar Zalmi by just one-run in the first play-off in Dubai and became the first team to reach the finals of the Pakistan Super League.

The Gladiators had to overcome a superb all-round performance from Wahab Riaz as he picked up three wickets in the first innings and scored a 16-ball 22 with the bat.

Peshawar Zalmi won the toss and elected to bowl first. Jonny Bairstow took the field for them in place of Tamim Iqbal while Nathan McCullum replaced Mohammad Nabi for the Quetta Gladiators.

The opening bowlers Hasan Ali (1-13) and Mohammad Asghar (2-23) gave Quetta Gladiators a perfect start after dismissing Bismillah Khan (0) and Ahmed Shehzad (6) respectively.

Kevin Pietersen (53) and Kumar Sangakkara (37) stitched a vital 79-run stand to resurrect the innings. Pietersen brought up his half-century off just 31 deliveries after scoring back-to-back sixes of Darren Sammy (1-30).

However, Sammy had Sangakkara caught at long-off in the same over with Bairstow pulling out a stunner. Quetta Gladiators were 90 for three after 12 overs.

In the remaining 45 deliveries in the innings, Quetta Gladiators managed only 42 runs as Peshawar Zalmi struck at regular intervals, including a three-wicket final over from Riaz (3-17), one of them being a run out.

After reaching 31 for one in the five overs, Peshawar Zalmi lost Mohammad Hafeez (15) and Brad Hodge (0) off successive deliveries in the sixth over. Both castled by Mohammad Nawaz (3-27).

At the halfway stage, Peshawar Zalmi were 53 for three, still needing 81 more to win.

With Jonny Bairstow (15), Shahid Yousuf (15) and Shahid Afridi (2) getting dismissed without major contribution the onus was on Sammy (38) to take the team through.

Sammy struck a six followed by a boundary in the 18th over bowled by Nawaz but was holed out to long on in the final delivery of the over as Zalmis needed 21 from 12 deliveries.

Riaz (22) and Ali (5) struck a boundary each to bring down the target to eight runs off the final over which was bowled by Cheema (2-34).

Even though Riaz managed to score five runs in the first three deliveries, Cheema came back strong by dismissing Riaz and Ali in the next two deliveries and conceded just one run off the final ball to secure a one-run victory for the Gladiators.

The win has taken the Quetta Gladiators to the finals of the tournament while Peshawar Zalmi will get another chance in the third play-off where they will face the winner of Karachi Kings and Islamabad United encounter.

Nawaz was awarded the man of the match for his incredible spell of bowling.

© Cricket World 2016