Lahore Qalandars clinched back-to-back Pakistan Super League title as they beat Multan Sultans by just one run in a thrilling final on Saturday.
With Multan needing four runs off the last ball – bowled by Zaman Khan – Khusdil Shah was run out while attempting a third run that would have tied Lahore’s total of 200-6.
Instead Multan finished on 199-8 to see them lose out to Lahore again in a repeat of last year’s final. The Qalanders are the first team in PSL history to retain the title.
Captain Shaheen Shah Afridi was influential throughout, securing Player of the Match honours after smashing five sixes and two boundaries in a belligerent 44 not out off just 15 balls at the back-end of the Lahore innings, and then the left-arm pace bowler following that up with four wickets in the final overs to finish with figures of 4-51.
Shaheen’s initial efforts with the bat helped catapult Lahore to what only just proved to be a match-winning score. When he came to the crease, the Qalanders were reeling at 111-4 after a run of four wickets for 17 runs in the space of three overs – Kent and England’s Sam Billings among them, out for nine.
But Shaheen and Abdullah Shafique, who anchored the innings superbly with 65 of 40 balls, proceeded to plunder a staggering 85 runs off the final five overs to fire Lahore up to 200.
In reply, Rilee Rossouw (52 off 32 balls) hit a fine fifty to keep Multan on top of the required run rate, and though Mohammad Rizwan (34 off 23), Kieron Pollard (19 off 16) and Tim David (20 off 16) had their moments, a steady stream of wickets made things increasingly tougher for the Sultans – Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan chipping in with 2-26.
That was until Khushdil (25 off 12) and Abbas Afridi (17no off 6) smacked fast bowler Haris Rauf for 22 runs in the penultimate over, leaving 13 required from the final six balls.
But Zaman and Lahore ultimately kept their nerve in front of 25,000 fans to give the home team victory.