APL 2018, Final, Balkh Legends vs Kabul Zwanan Review: Legends prevail in the battle of supremacy and lift the inaugural title

With one run to get in two overs, Gulbadin Naib walked out, hit the winning six and the party had only begun for the Legends.

APL final
APL final. (Photo Source: Twitter)

It was a sensational finish to what has been one heck of a tournament. The Balkh Legends, as many expected considering the squad strength and depth, managed to triumph over a hapless Rashid Khan‘s Kabul Zwanan in the final of the APL 2018 and will go down in the tournament’s history as the first-ever winners.

Batting first, the Zwanan might’ve prepared for a flat deck, but as it turned it, it was anything but a flat deck. Skipper Mohammad Nabi and Aftab Alam were all over Kabul with the new ball and managed to tilt the momentum completely in their favour. Alam got the better of Ronchi whilst Nabi sent Hazratullah Zazai back.

Wayne Parnell tried to stick along and stitched a 38-run stand with Colin Ingram. But these both departed in quick succession, leaving a lot of work to do for Javed Ahmadi and Laurie Evans. Ahmadi played some big shots and kept the scorecard ticking but Qais Ahmad stole the show in the final overs with a mesmerizing spell.

Ahmad chipped in with a five-fer and gave away just 18 runs in his four overs. Courtesy his brilliant spell, Zwanan lost all their momentum in the death overs and could register only 132 runs for the loss of 9 wickets.

Gayle chips in with a crucial contribution

Some players are tailor-made for big games and Christopher Henry Gayle is certainly one of them. Chasing a below-par target, the Legends lost two quick wickets in the first four overs, but the Jamaican maintained composure and measured his way beautifully to a wonderful fifty.

Gayle was dropped twice in the innings when he was beginning to accelerate. This cost Kabul a humongous price and Rashid Khan, who has a safe pair of hands usually, dropped a sitter when Gayle didn’t hit even a single boundary. The 39-year-old hung around with Ryan ten Doeschate to bring the Legends into a good position.

Although Gayle was dismissed after registering a fifty, Ravi Bopara and Ikram Ali Khil added a priceless 34-run stand for the fifth wicket and the final few runs were a mere formality. With one run to get in two overs, Gulbadin Naib walked out, hit the winning six and the party had only begun for the Legends.

Brief Scores

Kabul Zwanan: 132/9 in 20 overs (Javed Ahmadi 32; Qais Ahmad 5/18)

Balkh Legends: 138/6 in 18.1 overs (Chris Gayle 56, Ravi Bopara 32; Wayne Parnell 3/35)

Player of the match: Qais Ahmad

Get the latest Cricket News and updates from Afghanistan Premier League, Match PredictionsFantasy Cricket Tips and lots more on CricTracker.com.