HBL Pakistan Super League reaches climax in Karachi on Sunday evening, when two previous winners meet in summit clash
Lowdown on PSL 2018 final: All you need to know about Islamabad United v Peshawar Zalmi
Islamabad United v Peshawar Zalmi, National Stadium, Karachi at 8pm start (UAE time). Match will be shown live on OSN Cricket
More on the teams
Islamabad United were the first winners of the PSL two years ago, when, after an indifferent start to the competition, they made a late run to success.
They have been entirely different this time round, dominating the league phase. Having finished top with seven wins from their 10 matches, they then advanced to the final at the first available opportunity, crushing Karachi Kings with eight overs to spare in their qualifier play-off.
Peshawar Zalmi, by contrast, needed two wins in the space of 24 hours on the final weekend of the league in Sharjah to scrape through to the play-offs.
The defending PSL champions then went through a nerve-shredding eliminator against Quetta Gladiators, before beating Karachi Kings to make it through to a second successive final.
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More on the venue
The 34,000-capacity National Stadium in Karachi is the third different venue for a PSL final in the competition's first three years.
Dubai International Stadium hosted the first in 2016, before it was taken back to Pakistan last year.
As at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore last year, the security operation for the final in Karachi has been substantial. Tickets reportedly sold out for the match within three hours.
Players to watch
Islamabad will be hoping that a week without cricket – by far the longest break they have had during the competition – has not cooled Luke Ronchi’s hot streak.
Last time out, he savaged Karachi’s vaunted bowling attack in Dubai to the tune of an unbeaten 92. In the process, he posted the fastest half-century in the tournament – just 19 balls – and he had hit the two previous fastest, too.
Despite all that, he might not even be the toastiest batsman on show in the final. Kamran Akmal has found some remarkable form just as the tournament has reached crunch time.
Peshawar’s wicketkeeper opener has innings of 75, 107 and 77 in the space of his past four trips to the crease. That run of form has taken him above Ronchi at the top of the run-scoring charts – which was the place he finished last year’s competition, too.