Following a memorable tournament held in the UAE – excluding Sunday’s final in Lahore – Paul Radley looks back on some memorable moments from the 2017 Pakistan Super League.
1). The Sammy selfie
There was only one incursion to the field of play by a supporter in the 23 PSL matches played in the UAE.
He waited until the last possible moment to take his chance, running on as Darren Sammy prepared to send down the last ball of the third qualifying final.
It was an entirely good-natured. He ran up to the Peshawar Zalmi captain, whipped out his mobile phone, and asked for a selfie.
Sammy, who gave the tournament its most memorable celebration in the first match when he got his Peshawar players to stand for a mock selfie, happily obliged.
2). McCullum’s over
The over he bowled. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?
There is something about Dubai that emboldens Brendon McCullum to have a bowl. In 2014 he took his lone Test wicket there, that of Sarfraz Ahmed.
There was a method to his madness, too, when he brought himself on in the midst of Karachi Kings’ run chase in Lahore Qalandars’ must-win last league match. The pitch was turning square, and he nominally bowls off-spin. This was a rare failed McCullum masterstroke, though. He proved easy to hit, leaked 13 in the over, Karachi’s chase was revived, and Lahore went out.
3). Sharjah’s broken signpost
From an attendance perspective, this PSL was a slow burner. Opening night, predictably, was a sell out, but the matches immediately after attracted paltry crowds. The old fail-safe – a Friday afternoon match involving Peshawar in Sharjah – fixed that.
Amid foreboding weather, which actually led to the match between Peshawar and Quetta being abandoned, Sharjah Cricket Stadium was mobbed.
Before the start, such a crowd had gathered that the surge of bodies knocked over a signpost and crushed three bicycles.
4). Zulfiqar’s seven wides in an over
Appearances can be deceiving, but Kevin Pietersen seldom gave the impression of someone who wanted to be here.
Three ducks – remarkably, with just two deliveries faced – in the early matches did not help. His first score of note, a thrilling 88 not out, was followed by a spiky news conference.
At other times, he had to pacify Ahmed Shehzad after a run out falling out, and shouted at Sarfraz Ahmed, his wicketkeeper, for not breaking the stumps.
And when Zulfiqar Babar sent down seven wides in an over at the start of one innings, he might have been advised to look away from the big screen. It had zoomed in on teammate Pietersen shaking his head after each one.
5). Pollard’s catches
In the nicest possible way, Kieron Pollard is a freak. Nobody that tall and that powerfully set should be anywhere near as gymnastically gifted as he is in the field.
In the seminal final league match, against Islamabad United, Usman Khan, Karachi’s left-arm quick, was on a hat-trick. More to the point, Pollard was on a hat-trick of running catches at long on.
If the ball goes anywhere in his general orbit when he is patrolling the boundary, the batsman might as well just start making his way off.
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