Thursday March 23, 2023

Shaheen stars as Qalandars become first team to retain HBL PSL title

March 19, 2023

LAHORE: Defending champions Lahore Qalandars wrote history when they became the first team to clinch back-to-back HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) titles here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday evening.

The winners of the 2022 PSL after initial glitches hammered 200 runs for six wickets. Multan Sultans in their chase faltered midway, then recovered but eventually fell short by one run.

Shaheen Shah Afridi led his side from the front with his all-round performance. He scored a brisk 44 not out and then took three wickets in a single over to take the game away from Multan. He took four wickets in all. Rashid Khan provided much-needed breakthroughs with two key wickets.

The match, which was in control of Lahore by the 18th over when Multan required 35 in 12 balls all due to the brilliance of Shaheen and Rashid, almost slipped away in the 19th over. Haris Rauf was smashed for 22 runs by Khushdil Shah (25 in 22 balls) and Abbas Afridi (17 in six balls). But Zaman Khan and team Qalandars fought all ends to contain Multan.

The last over leaked 11 runs as Abbas remained not out. Khushdil was run out on the last delivery in the most dramatic PSL final ever.

Lahore Qalandars lifted the Supernova Trophy and also pocketed a cheque of Rs120 million. The runners-up received a cheque of Rs48 million.

After winning the toss and deciding to bat first, Lahore Qalandars set a target of 201 runs for Multan. They allowed the Southern Punjab team to get 72 runs in the powerplay. Multan’s first wicket fell at 41 when they lost Usman Khan.

Rizwan-led Multan started off their innings with a run rate of above 11 and even the fall of Usman (victim of David Wiese) did not bring any change in the run rate.

Rizwan and Rilee Rosssouw maintained the rhythm and added 64 runs for the second wicket. Lahore were desperately looking for a breakthrough which was provided by Rashid Khan when he earned the prized wicket of Rilee but not before the South African had got his half century. Rilee made 52 runs in 32 balls with seven fours and two sixes.

As Keiron Pollard walked in, Rashid in his next over took Rizwan’s wicket for 34 in 23 balls, laced with five fours. Wiese took a brilliant catch at long on boundary. At first sight it looked he had stepped over the boundary but the third umpire ruled it was a fair catch. Rashid finished his quota of overs with two for 26.

Pollard conceded his wicket to Shaheen after scoring 19 in 16 balls. Multan were 146 for four in 15.3 overs.

David was dismissed by Shaheen in the 18th over after he had made for 20 runs off 16 balls. Multan were 160 for five, needing 41 runs in 17 balls.

From there Khushdi and Abbas showed their skills but it was not their day.

Earlier, captain Shaheen Shah did the Afridi thing towards the fag end of the innings to lift their score. Shaheen, alongside Abdullah Shafique, brought Lahore out of trouble after they were reduced to 112 for five by the 14th over. Shaheen and Abdullah together gathered brisk 66 runs. During the last five overs, Lahore cracked 85 runs, including 13 boundaries and lost one wicket. They got 24 runs in the 17th over alone as Ihsanullah threw five wides and was hit for two sixes and a four. The following over conceded 11, the 19th over gave Lahore 22 runs and the final over 14.

A partnership between Fakhar Zaman and Shafique gave spine to Qalandars. By the end of the 11th over, they had reached 94 runs with nine wickets in hand, setting up a solid platform.

Fakhar, however, departed when he was caught by Usman Khan off the bowling of Usama Mir. Fakhar scored 39 runs off 34 deliveries, including four boundaries and a six.

Usama also dismissed Sam Billings and Ahsan Hafeez. Sikandar Raza was bowled by Khushdil Shah. Shaheen marched and showed his clear intent almost hitting every ball delivered at him. With five mighty sixes and two fours he scored 44 not out.

However, Shafique’s brilliant knock came to an end as Anwar Ali struck in the 19th over. Shafique departed after a top-class innings of 65 runs off 40 deliveries, which included eight fours and two sixes. This was his second half century of the season.

Usama Mir was the pick of the bowlers for Multan with figures of 3-24 in three overs while Anwar Ali, Ihsanullah and Khushdil got one each.