DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC): All-rounder Andre Russell grabbed three wickets to help fire Islamabad United into the final of the Pakistan Super League, with a 50-run victory over Darren Sammy’s Peshawar Zalmi’s in yesterday’s last semi-final. United posted 176 for three off 20 overs after being sent in at the Dubai International Stadium and then restricted Zalmi to 126 all out of 18 overs to book their spot in the championship game against Quetta Gladiators tomorrow. Seamer Russell picked up three for 37 from his four overs, including the wicket of captain Shahid Afridi, who smashed a 17-ball 38 with two fours and four sixes. Left-arm spinner Imran Khalid was the best bowler with four for 20, while opener Kamran Akmal stroked the top score of 45 from 32 deliveries. Sammy made nine from eight balls with two fours before he was fifth out at 80 for five in the 13th over. Earlier, opener Sharjeel Khan smashed 117 off 62 deliveries to propel United’s innings. He put on 108 for the first wicket with Barbados and West Indies right-hander, Dwayne Smith, who made a painstaking 19 off 37 balls. On Saturday, in contrast, Smith hit an unbeaten 50 from 48 deliveries to help United post a nine-wicket victory over Karachi Kings.
Brief Scores – Saurashtra (236 & 282/4) beat Karnataka (275 & 239) by 5 wickets. Cheteshwar Pujara (131*), Sheldon Jackson (100); Vinay Kumar (3 for 75).Cheteshwar Pujara’s form with the bat proved vital for Saurashtra as he led the team to a 5-wicket win in the second semifinal of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season, scoring his 49th first-class hundred in the process.Pujara’s unbeaten 131 helped Saurashtra chase down 279 against Karnataka on the fifth and final day of the match and set up the final against defending champions Vidarbha, who had crushed first-time semi-finalists Kerala inside two days last week.This is the third time Saurashtra have reached the Ranji Trophy final after 2012-13 and 2015-16 while Vidarbha will play their second successive final.”All of us are excited. Winning the Ranji Trophy title is something that all of us are looking forward to. We were in the final twice, this time we have a good opportunity to win the final.”We have a good team. Hopefully, we will continue the good performance and not worry too much about the final and play our normal games,” Pujara said after the match.Saurashtra needed just 55 runs to complete the victory on the final day with Pujara batting on 108 along with Sheldon Jackson on 90*. The duo were involved in a 214-run partnership for the fourth wicket before Vinay Kumar removed Jackson for 100, his 16th first-class hundred.Pujara however, carried on from where he left on the fourth day and carried the team across the finish line with Prerak Mankad at the other end. Vinay Kumar finished with three wickets for Karnataka while Abhimanyu Mithun and Ronit More bagged a wicket each.advertisementPujara, who returned home from Australia as the highest scorer in the Test series to play the quarterfinal and semifinal for Saurashtra, has made a huge impact for his state team since joining them earlier this month.In the first innings against Karnataka, Pujara had made 46 before the classy hundred in the second innings. He showed the same grit he displayed in Australia as Saurashtra took the upper hand after four days of intense cricket against Karnataka in Bengaluru.Pujara had played a crucial knock in the last game as well when Saurashtra were chasing 372 against Uttar Pradesh. The 31-year-old made an unbeaten 67 off 110 balls as Saurashtra pulled off the highest successful run chase in Ranji Trophy history.The second semi-final saw the hosts posting 275 in the first innings thanks to Shreyas Gopal (87) and Srinivas Sharath’s (83) knocks with Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat bagging four wickets. In reply the visiting team were bowled out for 236 thanks to Ronit More’s six-wicket haul.But Saurashtra then staged a brilliant fightback with Dharmendrasinh Jadeja starring with the ball as they bowled out Karnataka for 239 in their second innings, setting Saurashtra a target of 279 for victory.Jadeja finished with 5 wickets for 78 runs while Unadkat got three wickets in yet another inspired performance from the skipper.Saurashtra will now face Vidarbha in the final starting February 3 (Sunday). Vidarbha, led by Faiz Fazal, had hammered Kerala by an innings and 11 runs inside two days at Wayanad on Friday.Also Read | Ranji Trophy Semi-finals, Saurashtra vs Karnataka Day 5: As it happenedAlso Watch: