Lahore Qalandars Defend their Title after a Tense PSL 8 Final

After being laughed at & lampooned for so long, Lahore Qalandars are now two-time PSL champions (2022 & 2023). They became the only side in PSL’s history to successfully defend their title. The charismatic captain Shaheen Shah Afridi, the newfound allrounder led Lahore in PSL 8 Final and showcased his newfound talent with the bat to completely take the game away from Multan. At one stage it was looking like Lahore would hardly score 170 but the brutal assault by Shaheen propelled them to 200.

The PSL 8 Final went underway after Lahore Qalandars won the toss and elected to bat first. Both teams fielded an unchanged XI from their previous wins in the final encounter.

First Innings in PSL 8 Final

Qalandar’s openers Mirza Baig and Fakhar Zaman opened the batting. Mirza set the early tone in the PP when he took apart Multan’s best bowler from Qualifier 1, Sheldon Cottrell for 24 runs in his first two overs. He then fell to the fiery pace of Ihsanullah after scoring a quick-fire 30 runs from 18 balls. Fakhar at the other end was struggling at 12 from 18 at the end of the powerplay where Lahore scored 43/1.

Abdullah Shafique came at no.3, a position where he has prospered this season. His 57-run partnership off 38 balls with Fakhar laid the platform for the others to finish off on a good total on this two-paced surface but there was another twist. Just when Lahore was running away with the game, Rizwan introduced the spin in the 12th over with Usama Mir taking the important wicket of Fakhar (39 runs from 34 balls) to make it 95/2. 

A mini collapse followed with Usama taking the wickets of Sam Billings (9 runs from 8 balls) & Ahsan Bhatti (0) on consecutive balls to make it 111/4 from 14 overs. Khushdil took the prize scalp of Sikandar Raza in the very next over to make it 112/5. At this stage it was looking like Lahore would struggle to reach even 170 on this pitch but Shaheen promoted himself once again ahead of David Weise & Rashid Khan.

What followed next was carnage from both Abdullah & Shaheen as they put together 66 runs from 27 balls only. It was the 17th over that really swung the game in Lahore’s favour as Shaheen took on Multan’s spearhead bowler Ihsanullah & smashed him for 16 runs with two 6’s & one 4 in an over that eventually cost 24 runs. Shaheen ended up with 44* runs from just 15 balls & Shafique played a mature inning of 65 runs (8x4s & 2x6s) from 40 balls to take Lahore to a massive score of 200/6.

Also read: PSL 8 Flop XI – Big Players who failed to make an impact

Second Innings – Multan’s Reply in PSL 8 Final

Multan Sultans began their chase with the record holder centurion Usman Khan & Mohammad Rizwan at the helm. They put Lahore under pressure by attacking Shaheen Afridi straight away. Shaheen’s first two overs went for 34 runs as Multan raced to 40 runs inside three overs. Wiese was introduced in the 4th over & he struck immediately by bowling out Usman Khan (18 runs from 12 balls).

The dangerous Protea batter Rilee Rossouw joined Rizwan in the middle & played a beautiful counter-attacking cricket to score 52 runs (7x4s & 2x6s) from 32 balls. Just when the partnership of 64 runs from 42 balls looked dangerous, Rilee was undone by a beautiful delivery by Rashid Khan to give Qalandars a sniff to crawl back into this game. The Afghan spinner came back to strike again as Rizwan was brilliantly caught by Wiese on the boundary rope after he became the tournaments leading run-scorer.

Needing 60 from the last five overs, Multan hoped that their big guns would fire but Shaheen came back to take the wicket of Pollard (19 runs from 16 balls). In his next over he completely turned the game in Lahore’s favour by picking up three wickets of Tim David, Anwar Ali & Usama Mir as jam-packed Gaddafi went berserk.

Requiring 35 runs from the last 2 overs, this rollercoaster final took another turn when Khushdil Shah & Abbas Afridi smoked Haris Rauf for 22 runs. Moreover, the Lahore team was slapped with the penalty of not bowling their overs in the stipulated time with one extra fielder inside the 30-yard circle.

Zaman Khan was entrusted to bowl the final over, with only four fielders on the boundary rope. He held his nerve & bowled brilliantly at the death to give Lahore victory by the barest of margins.

This tournament kicked off in a nail-biting victory for Qalandars by 1 run against Sultans and ended in the same way. Both matches involved Zaman Khan & Khushdil shah on the last ball. 

It’s fair to say that the team that became the laughing stock in the first four seasons has now played 3 finals in the last four years. Shaheen became the only captain with two PSL titles. This year’s PSL 8 Final is the best final witnessed since its inaugural season, this see-saw match was an emotional rollercoaster ride & the fans got their money’s worth.

Best Players of The Tournament

  • Player of the Tournament – Ihsanullah
  • Best Wicketkeeper – Mohammad Rizwan
  • Best Batter – Mohammad Rizwan
  • Best Bowler – Ihsanullah
  • Best Allrounder – Imad Wasim
  • Best Fielder – Kieron Pollard
  • Emerging Player – Abbas Afridi
  • Spirit of Cricket – Peshawar Zalmi
  • Best Umpire – Alex Wharf

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