PSL 2017 Final on Sunday night where Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiators by 58 runs was a celebration of cricket, celebration of sport and celebration of cricket returning to Pakistan. More than anything else, actually, it was a day where cricket, sport and innocent people prevailed over violence and terrorism that had plagued the region. It wasn’t just about it being a game – a final of the tournament that had witnessed controversy from match fixing allegations at the onset, then lots of runs, lots of excitement and then murmurs of international players pulling out of the final owing to security concerns with the concluding game being played in Lahore. So what happened on the field of play was, for once, irrelevant. People thronged the Gaddafi Stadium with tickets sold out much in advance
Even with some international cricketers deciding to not play the final in Lahore, there were some who ensured cricket was the real winner on the day. It included the likes of West Indies players Marlon Samuels, Darren Sammy (skipper) and England’s Chris Jordan – all part of Peshawar. Sammy’s words at the toss summed up the mood and the feel of the entire contest. Asked by Ramiz Raja why he chose to come to Pakistan, Sammy said, “My good friend Lala Afridi (Shahid Afridi) told me, ‘Bro, if we reach the final you should come to Lahore. It will be good for me and good for the country.’ It is important that cricket is the winner in the end.”
And with that, the mood was sent for the final where Peshawar scored 148 runs in 20 overs with Kamran Akmal top-scoring 40. In reply, Quetta could only muster 90 runs and lost by 58 runs with Sammy the man-of-the-match for his brilliant 28 runs from 11 balls at the death.
Pakistan media was jubilant after cricket returned to the cricket seven years after the saddening scenes of gunfire on Sri Lanka team bus that drew a ban on the country.