Mohammad Yousuf led Lahore Lions into the final with a breezy half-century that helped his side overhaul Islamabad Leopards' 132 with six wickets to spare in Lahore.
Yousuf came in when Azhar Mahmood had struck twice in his first over to reduce Lahore to 18 for 2. Nasir Jamshed was the first to depart, driving Mahmood uppishly straight to cover after having hammered him for 12 runs in three deliveries. Mahmood then struck a huge blow off his next ball, bowling Umar Akmal off the inside edge.
However, Yousuf and opener Ahmed Shehzad shut Islamabad out of the game with a 103-run stand that came in 13.1 overs. Yousuf played some pleasing drives down the ground and through the covers. He was also quick to cut anything short outside off, and even reverse-swept left-arm spinner Imad Wasim for a couple of fours. Shehzad was not too far behind, rotating the strike efficiently and hitting some huge sixes over long-on.
Islamabad did not help themselves, Zeeshan dropping Yousuf at long-off when he was on 44. With 12 needed from 30 deliveries, Mahmood struck twice again, in his last over, getting both Shehzad and Abdul Razzaq caught at short fine leg. But it was too little, too late for Islamabad, as Yousuf finished the game in style, pulling Iftikhar Anjum over deep midwicket for six. He was the Player of the Match for his unbeaten 57 off 48 balls.
Islamabad had earlier begun poorly, losing Raheel Majeed in the opening over bowled by Razzaq. Fayyaz Ahmed steadied the innings with a patient half-century, benefitting from two early dropped chances when on 0 and 13.
At 98 for 3 with five overs to go, Islamabad were eyeing a score in the region of 150. However, the Lahore bowlers kept things tight, picking up five wickets to keep them down to 132. Wahab Riaz took two wickets off the last two deliveries of the innings to end with 3 for 26.
In a high-scoring second semi-final, Karachi Dolphins chased down a huge target with ease, thanks to opener Shahzaib Hasan's unbeaten 71. Rawalpindi Rams seemed all set to reach the finals after 27-year-old Babar Naeem's maiden Twenty20 half-century powered them past 200, but Karachi's batting proved too strong for them.
There had been a couple of stoppages during the Rawalpindi innings due to mosquitoes disturbing the players. That didn't faze the Rawalpindi batsmen, though: opener Naved Malik showed why he has a career strike-rate in excess of 180 by blasting Sohail Khan for two sixes in the second over before carting Mohammad Sami for two fours and a six off consecutive deliveries in the fifth over.
He was dismissed in the seventh over after which Naeem and Umar Amin piled on 93 for the third wicket in 49 deliveries. Both of them hit two big sixes each over midwicket and midway through the 15th over had taken Rawalpindi to an ominous 157 for 2. Both fell in the space of three deliveries, and though Naved Ashraf and Hammad Azam hit out, only 52 runs came in the final six overs.
Still, it was a stiff target and though Shahzaib hit a six in each of the first two overs, Karachi lost two wickets by the fifth. Shahzaib's innings was crucial and earned him the Man-of-the-Match award, but there were two thirties - from Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi - that were equally important.
It was Alam's three boundaries off Azam in the sixth over - costing 21 runs - that re-ignited the chase. He made 31 off 15 to keep Karachi in the hunt before Afridi played a typical Afridi innings: his first three shots fetched him 2, 4 and 6, and he hammered Babar for three sixes over midwicket off the first three balls of the 12th over before falling attempting another big hit.
There were few troubles after that as Afridi's effort had brought the required rate to a manageable 8.5 and Karachi sailed to victory, hastened by a couple of fours by Sarfraz Ahmed and a six by Shahzaib in the space of four deliveries in the 18th over from Sohail Tanvir.