Sharjeel Khan scored a swashbuckling 50-ball 100 to power Islamabad United to Pakistan Super League final. United defeated Peshawar Zalmi by 50 runs after defending 177 runs target in the 3rd qualifying final at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Sharjeel also became the first centurion in the history of PSL. His knock came at the utmost important time for team United. He got run out for 117 runs off 61 balls and his innings included 12 fours and 8 sixes.
After winning the toss, Zalmi's captain Shahid Afridi decided to field first. Sharjeel opened the innings with Dwayne Smith who played one of the T20 knocks ever by scoring 19 runs off 37 deliveries.
United were led to 176 for 3 in their 20 overs quota by Sharjeel's 117 runs cracking knock. Khalid Latif added 28 off 21 in the end overs and provided some entertainment with 3 boundaries.
For Zalmi, Kamran Akmal and Dawid Malan came out to bat. After giving a steady start to the chase, Malan departed in the fourth over after scoring 7 runs.
Wickets kept falling in regular intervals after that, only Akmal and then down the order, captain Afridi reached double figures for Zalmi as they scored 45 and 38 respectively.
Slow left-arm orthodox Imran Khalid picked four wickets and was the pick of the bowlers for United beside Andre Russell, who picked three.
Zalmi were bowled out for 126 in just 18 overs. With the win, United qualified for the PSL final where they will meet Ahmed Shehzad-led Quetta Gladiators on February 23.
Man-of-the-Match for obvious reasons was awarded Sharjeel, who started the run massacre at the very start. The 26-year-old left-handed batsman displayed brilliant character while playing in a pressure situation.
Islamabad United 176/3 (20/20 overs)
Peshawar Zalmi 126 (18.0/20 overs)
Islamabad United won by 50 runs