Peshawar Zalmi might have finished at the top of the points table after the group stage but they are yet to taste victory against Quetta Gladiators in three meetings this season. Zalmi’s captain Darren Sammy has said there is no better time for the team to to set the record straight than in the final of PSL 2019.
“I would like to be an underdog but to be fair Quetta has played some good cricket,” Sammy said on the eve of the match. “Quetta has had the better of us throughout the season and I always tell my boys that everything in life happens for a reason. If it is one time we chose to beat them why not in the final when it really matters. Hopefully, it’s a cracker of a game and we find ways and means to execute our plans against them and we will need that.”
The two teams are meeting in the final for the second time. The last time, in 2017, Quetta were forced to field a depleted side with their overseas players refusing to travel to Pakistan. Zalmi, who were at full strength with all their overseas players making it to the Pakistan leg, bowled them out for 90 in a chase of 149.
But this time around, Quetta have their ideal combination, centered around Shane Watson, Darren Bravo and Rilee Rossouw.
“At the end of the day whatever they [Quetta] bring at us we have to be able to conquer,” Sammy said. “If we want to win, I don’t think my guys are going into the final thinking that they can’t play any bowler. As you could see yesterday, the key was to go out an express yourself. They cope with pressure well… the pressure is not on us. This is our third final, they [Quetta] will be playing their third as well but never won a final and we know what it takes to be in the final.
“I have guys in my dressing room who have won many finals. Wahab [Riaz] won T10, BPL. [Kieron] Pollard has won so many, [Chris] Jordan and myself [have won titles too]. We have guys who are accustomed to winning in final matches. Tomorrow there will no negative thought about any guy bowling spin. It’s all about going down and express yourself. That’s the message I have for my boys, no fear, no back down. Go and take the bull by the horns.”
In the seven games in Karachi so far, the teams have breached the 185-run mark on seven occasions, with teams batting first winning five of them. Sammy had an interesting take on that.
“In a do-or-die game, runs on the board has proven to add pressure on the opposition. So that’s something we may look at but ideally, when the wicket is so good, you would want to bowl first.”
Sammy also said he was fortunate to have other experienced players around him to share the responsibilities of leadership.
“Yes, I am the captain but we have so many leaders in the team. As captain, I encourage the guys to be leaders in the dressing room. You see Chris Jordan, Wahab Riaz, Misbah-ul-Haq – when he plays he is always talking to the bowler. Plus we have good players, not the superstars but the guys who are effective in the dressing room, and it makes my job easier to lead the side. Making to the finals constantly is an achievement.”