Australia’s Haddin leads Islamabad to glory in PSL


Australia's Haddin leads Islamabad to glory in PSL

Australian wicketkeeper smashes unbeaten 61 to help Islamabad United claim inaugural Pakistan Super League title

By Dave Middleton (Cricket.com.au)

Brad Haddin has added Pakistan Super League champion to his long list of achievements, having smashed an unbeaten half-century to help Islamabad United to the inaugural title.

Haddin blasted 61 from 39 balls – with two boundaries and five sixes – to see the Dean Jones-coached Islamabad side chase down the Quetta Gladiators’ total of 7-174 with eight balls to spare.

Haddin was in the thick of the action from the outset, taking a catch off the match’s third ball to dismiss Quetta opener Bismilah Khan for a duck.

Ahmed Shehzad hit 64 from 39 balls for Quetta, while Kumar Sangakarra added 55 from 32.

Kevin Pietersen added 18 before he was one of three wickets for Andre Russell. Pietersen has now lost all three T20 tournament finals he has contested in the 2015-16 summer following defeats in South Africa’s Ram Slam, with the Melbourne Stars in the KFC Big Bash league and now the PSL.

In contrast, West Indian Russell has won three domestic T20 titles, with his role in the Sydney Thunder’s BBL|05 victory sandwiched by wins in the Bangladesh Premier League and PSL.

Haddin continued the sublime formed he had shown at the back end of the United Aram Emirates-based competition and finished the tournament with 188 runs at 47. A lean run in his opening four games was complemented by scores of 54, 52*, 0 and 61* in Islamabad’s run to the championship.

The news was also greeted with glee in Sydney where Shane Watson was watching as he prepares to depart with Australia’s World T20 squad on Sunday.

Watson had been a key player for Islamabad until a slight abdominal strain forced him out of the tournament.

Islamabad had warmed up for the PSL final with a team bonding cruise in the Persian Gulf where 216cm (7ft 1in) fast bowler Mohammed Irfan shocked colleagues by catching a seagull in his bare hands.

The fast bowler was understood to have been dared to grab one of the birds flying alongside the craft the Islamabad team was cruising on, and did so to the shock and amusement of colleagues.

The video was posted on Islamabad United’s Facebook page, and showed the fast bowler releasing the bird unharmed after a few moments in his giant hands.

Irfan took two wickets in Islamabad’s victory against Quetta, including the third-ball dismissal of Bismillah, and finished with 2-25 from his four overs.

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