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Final showdown: Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi clash for PSL 2017 championship

LAHORE: ‘Kai Kai’ Quetta Gladiators lock horns with ‘Khpal team’ Peshawar Zalmi for the Pakistan Super League 2017 title at the Gaddafi Stadium tonight, as the league comes to where it belongs – its rightful home, Pakistan.
Tonight, before thousands of roaring fans, Sarfraz Ahmed’s men will battle it out with Darren Sammy’s XI for the ultimate championship, as the entire nation comes together to watch the action unfold at Lahore’s historic ground.
Gladiators beat Zalmi by one run in the first playoff to secure their place in the final, while Zalmi outclassed Karachi Kings by 24 runs in Friday’s knockout game to avenge last year’s heartbreak, when their journey to the final was cruelly cut short by Islamabad United.
The stage is set, the ground is ready, the trophy is up for grabs and the fans can’t wait. The security around Gaddafi Stadium has been beefed up with thousands of security personnel deployed to stand guard, as cricket returns to the heart of Pakistan.
Head to head
The two teams have clashed thrice in this tournament. Their first game was washed out; Zalmi won the second encounter by 2 wickets, while Gladiators defeated Zalmi in the third faceoff (the first qualifying final) in a last-ball thriller.
Gladiators are without their top overseas players Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and RileeRossouw, who withdrew from the final after their side secured a berth in the grand finale. The team has instead named five other foreign players who will be part of the squad tonight: AnamulHaque (Bangladesh), Sean Ervine (Zimbabwe), Morne Van Wyk (South Africa), Elton Chigumbura (Zimbabwe) and RayadEmrit (West Indies), along with AizazCheema, who is in for injured Umar Gul.
Four foreign players of Zalmi, meanwhile, reached Lahore late Saturday night to take part in the final. They include skipper Darren Sammy, Dawid Malan, Marlon Samuels and Chris Jordan. England player Samit Patel was not issued NOC from his county. All-rounder ShahidAfridi has been ruled out of the PSL final after he copped a nasty blow to his hand during fielding in Friday’s game.
In the spotlight
Zalmi wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal is this tournament’s highest scorer with 313 runs.
Fast bowler WahabRiaz is this PSL’s second-highest wicket-taker with a tally of 13.From the Gladiators current squad, Ahmad Shahzad is the top scorer with 241 runs.Spinner Mohammad Nawaz is the top wicket-taker with 9 wickets.



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