Khawaja was in supreme form going into the knockout match, having even smashed a hundred in the league stage. However, he was run out for 1 in unlucky fashion against Peshawar Zalmi. The bowler, Shoaib Malik, got a boot on the ball, which deflected on to the stumps at the non-striker’s end, with Khawaja well out of his crease.
Analyzing the game on his YouTube channel, Raja stated that the early wicket gave a massive boost to Peshawar Zalmi, and they never allowed Islamabad United to make a comeback. Raja said:
“Usman Khawaja got run out at the non-striker’s end after Shoaib Malik got a boot to the ball. That gave a head start to Peshawar Zalmi, and they never allowed Islamabad United to settle after that.”
After Khawaja’s dismissal, Colin Munro's 44 off 29 and a whirlwind 45 off 16 by Hasan Ali lifted Islamabad United to 174 for 9. However, according to Raja, Islamabad United needed to dismiss Peshawar Zalmi opener Hazratullah Zazai early to defend the total. Zazai though hammered 66 and put his team on course for a place in the PSL final. Jonathan Wells (55 not out) and Shoaib Malik (32 not out off 10) also played important knocks.
Looking back at the match, Raja commented:
“Hasan Ali swung his bat around and batted really well at the end. But, after scoring 174, it was crucial for Islamabad United to dismiss Hazratullah Zazai early. But, that did not happen, and Zazai played a superb knock. Early on, he was missing the big shots. He batted smartly though and settled in nicely. And, once he got going, there was no stopping him.”
“Islamabad United could not handle the pressure. You cannot panic on the big stage, otherwise you cannot become a champion side. This is something, which is happening a lot with some of our youngsters, who are unable to perform when needed the most,” he added.
Peshawar Zalmi are hot favorites to lift PSL 2021 title: Ramiz Raja
According to Raja, Peshawar Zalmi are the favorites to win PSL 2021 as they came up with excellent tactics against Islamabad United. He claimed that they are capable of getting the better of Multan Sultans in the final. The former Pakistan captain said:
“Peshawar Zalmi richly deserve to be in the PSL 2021 final. They have been much better than Islamabad United, who got caught under pressure. Peshawar Zalmi had better bowling prowess and utilized good tactics. Shoaib Malik was given the new ball. At the other end, the young pacer (Mohammad) Imran, who has very good potential, was given the new ball. The opposition’s game plan went completely haywire.”
“Peshawar Zalmi have had an inconsistent run, but they have the potential to stun Multan Sultans in the final. Multan Sultans are in good rhythm. According to me though, Peshawar Zalmi are hot favorites to lift PSL 2021 title,” he signed off.
The PSL 2021 final will be played between Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans on Thursday, June 24. Multan Sultans had defeated Islamabad United by 31 runs in the Qualifier to book their place in the summit clash.