Scintillating half centuries by Dwayne Smith (73) and Brad Haddin (61 not out) propelled Islamabad United to an emphatic four-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators in the inaugural final of the Pakistan Super League on Tuesday.
A packed crowd at at the Dubai International Stadium got their monies worth as United chasing a target of 175 coasted home with eight balls to spare.
Smith spearheaded their run-chase after his opening partner Sharjeel feel by cracking seven boundaries and four sixes in his 51-ball 73.
Haddin made merry clubbing five sixes and two boundaries in his 39-ball unbeaten 71.
Their breezy knocks blunted the half centuries by Ahmed Shehzad (64) and Kumar Sangakkara (55) which powered Quetta Gladiators to 174-7 after being put into bat.
Misbah ul Haq flicks Anwar for a single as Islamabad United defeat Quetta Gladiators by six wickets to emerge champions of the inaugural Pakistan Super League.
Latif departs with two needed to win. United 173-4, 18.2 overs.
Khalid Latif c Zulfiqar Babar b Anwar Ali 16 (7b 3x4)
Haddin sweeps Babar for his fifth six and Islamabad need just six off the last two overs. United 169-3, 18 overs.
Latif smashes a couple of boundaries off Cheema to close the gap further. United 159-3, 17 overs.
Cheema has given Quetta a glimmer of hope by castling Russell who swings wildly and misses. United 147-3, 16.1 overs.
Russell slams the first ball off Babar for a thundering six over extra cover. United 147-2, 16 overs.
Haddin completes a 31-ball 50 while Quetta finally break the partnership. United 139-2, 15.3 overs.
Dwayne Smith c Pietersen b Zulfiqar Babar 73 (51b 7x4 4x6)
United need just 38 off 30 balls with nine wicket in hand.
Islamabad are galloping towards the target as Haddin smashes Babar for his fourth six. United 130-1, 14 overs.
Haddin clubs Elliott for a straight six while Smith has clobbered into the second tier at midwicket. United 120-1, 13 overs.
Nawaz drops a fierce return catch off Smith while Haddin smashes him straight down the ground for a six. United 104-1, 12 overs.
Cheema returns to the attack and Smith whips him off his toes for a boundary. United 94-1, 11 overs.
Islamabad required 92 off 60 balls at the halfway stage. United 83-1, 10 overs.
Haddin picks a slower one from Elliot and sends it sailing over the ropes at midwicket. United 79-1, 9 overs.
Nawaz bowls an excellent first over conceding just a single. United 68-1, 8 overs.
Smith has swung Babar to square leg for his third six. United 67-1, 7 overs.
Smith slams another six off McCullum who gets the breakthrough as Sharjeel swings and misses. United 54-1, 5.4 overs.
Sharjeel Khan b McCullum 13 (11b 1x4 1x6)
Smith is on fire belting Ali for a towering six into the crowd at midwicket. United 32-0, 3 overs.
Sharjeel has opened his account by muscling McCullum over midwicket for a maximum. United 15-0, 1 over.
Smith slaps Anwar through the offside followed by crunching shot to the leg side for boundaries as Islamabad begin chasing 175.
Spectacular half centuries by Ahmed Shehzad (64) and Kumar Sangakkara (55) powered Quetta Gladiators to 174-7 after being put into bat.
Russell claimed three for 36 and Irfan two for 25.
Elliott blasts a straight six off the last ball as Gladiators finish on 174-7.
Anwar Ali c Khalid Latif b Russell 13 (10b 1x4 1x6)
Ali departs after hammering a towering six. Glads 168-7, 19.4 overs.
Irfan strikes as Sarfraz perishes top edging a pull shot. Glads 153-6, 17.4 overs.
Sarfraz Ahmed c Smith b Irfan 3 (4b)
Shehzad flicks Sami over backward square leg for a sweetly timed six before paddle sweeping to short fine leg. Glads 147-5, 16.3 overs.
Ahmed Shehzad c Badree b Sami 64 (39b 9x4 1x6)
Shehzad finds the gap on the off by cutting Badree to the fence. Glads 140-4, 16 overs.
Nawaz is castled by Badree after hammering a towering six. Glads 135-4, 15.4 overs.
Mohammad Nawaz (3) b Badree 7 (5b 0x4 1x6)
Shehzad stands on one leg and imperiously pulls Russell to square leg for a boundary to complete his half century off 35 before despatching a yorker length delivery to the fence. Glads 129-3, 15 overs.
Sangakkara's brilliant knock comes to an end holing out to Khalid who holds onto this one. Glads 120-3, 14.3 overs.
Kumar Sangakkara c Imran Khalid b Russell 55 (32b 7x4 2x6)
Sangakkara stands on his toes and smashes Smith back over the bowler's head for a six to complete his 50 off 30 balls. Glads 117-2, 14 overs.
Smith comes into the attack and Sangakkara swings him to square leg and cracks him through extra cover for another boundary.
Sri Lankan legend Sangakkara is sizzling caressing Sami over extra cover for a six. Glads 101-2, 13 overs.
Sangakkara has smashes Khalid back down the ground forcing umpire Aleem Dar to take evasive action. Glads 90-2, 12 overs.
Sangakkara uses his dancing shoes and drives Khalid to long on for a boundary to bring up the 50 partnership of 37 balls.
Shehzad is let off on 38 as Khalid drops a sitter at extra cover after having the batsman pulled Irfan for a boundary. Glads 78-2, 11 overs.
Shehzad is in sublime form sweeping Khalid for a couple of boundaries. Glads 68-2, 10 overs.
Sangakkara gets going caressing Russell through to third man for a boundary. Glads 51-2, 8 overs.
Russell with his first delivery as Pietersen is cut short by a brilliant catch at midwicket. Glads 33-2, 5.1 overs.
Kevin Pietersen c Asif Ali b Russell 18 (18b 1x6)
Shehzad gets going punching Badree down the ground for a couple of boundaries. Glads 26-1, 4 overs.
KP hits the first six of the PSL Final by standing tall and clobbering Irfan for a colossal strike. Glads 14-1, 3 overs.
Irfan draws first blood with his third delivery as Bismillah is undone by a steepling delivery with Haddin taking a catch in front of slip. Glads 0-1, 0.3 overs.
Bismillah Khan c Haddin b Irfan 0 (3b)
Islamabad United captain Misbah ul Haq has won the toss and has no hesitation in putting Quetta Gladiators into bat.
Tickets for Tuesday's titanic clash between Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final at Dubai International Stadium have been sold out, according to the organisers.
PSL chairman Najam Sethi used his Twitter account (@najamsethi) to announce this: "Those who do not have tickets to PSL FINAL in Dubai are requested NOT to come to the stadium because ALL TICKETS HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT."
Those who do not have tickets to PSL FINAL in Dubai are requested NOT to come to the stadium because ALL TICKETS HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT.— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) February 22, 2016
However, Emirates 24|7 reported tickets for the final have been put up for sale on the social media websites, at much higher rates.
Nonetheless, it is a major accomplishment for Pakistan’s first ever Twenty20 league which exploded into action on February 4 with five teams vying for the top honours.
Despite the absence of pre-tournament favourites Afridi-led Peshawar Zalmi, the finale will be no less exciting bringing the curtain down on two weeks of high-octane entertainment where a total of 24 matches were played in Dubai and Sharjah.
Gladiators hold the edge going into the final having remained consistent throughout the tournament winning seven out of nine matches so far and defeating Zalmi to secure their final berth directly.
Islamabad who trounced Karachi Kings and then stunned Zalmi to book final berth, have won six out ten matches they played so far.
Peshawar Zalmi topped the points table during the league with 12 points on better run rate over Gladiators.
Quetta won both matches against Islamabad in the league stages of the league, winning the PSL opener by eight wickets and the second game by seven wickets.
However, Islamabad will be boosted after their upset win over Zalmi thanks to heroics of Sharjeel Khan (117) and Imran Khalid (4-20).
The high-flying Gladiators boast of Kevin Pietersen, Ahmed Shehzad and Sarfaraz Ahmed while United's batting revolves around Sharjeel Khan, Brad Haddin, Dwayne Smith and captain Misbahul Haq himself.
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.
Quetta captain Sarfraz Ahmad was 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,” he said.
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.”
Quetta Gladiators: Kevin Pietersen, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), 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.
Islamabad United: Andre Russell, Misbah ul Haq (captain), 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.