Zaman’s ‘steel nerves’ power Lahore Qalandars to lift second consecutive PSL title

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LAHORE: Young pacer Zaman Khan held his nerves calm to defend 13 runs in the final over to power Lahore Qalandars to the second consecutive PSL title after skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi’s all-round brilliance against Multan Sultans, ARY News reported on Saturday.

Set to chase 201, the Sultans fell just one run short of glory as the visitors could accumulate 199/8 in their quota of 20 overs despite Rilee Rossouw’s half-century.

Sultans’ openers Usman Khan and Mohammad Rizwan scripted a flying start to the run chase as the pair charged on the Qalandars’ bowlers right from the start and amassed 41 runs inside four overs.

David Wiese then rattled Usman’s stumps to hand a much-needed breakthrough to the Qalandars. He scored 18 off 12 deliveries.

Sultans’ skipper Rizwan then joined hands with Rossouw and stitched a crucial second-wicket partnership; adding 64 runs at a brisk rate before Rashid Khan forced Qalandars’ comeback.

The seasoned leg-spinner removed both set batters Rizwan and Rossouw in his successive overs and pulled down Sultans to 122/3 in the 13th over.

Rossouw top-scored for the Sultans with 52 in 32 deliveries, laced with seven boundaries and two sixes. Rizwan, however, scored 23-ball 34, hitting five boundaries.

Middle-order batters Kieron Pollard and Tim David kept Sultans in the hunt with a vital 24-run partnership for the fourth wicket but Shaheen wreaked havoc by taking four wickets in his last two overs.

The left-arm pacers dismissed Pollard (19) in his third over before removing David (20), Anwar Ali (1) and Usama Mir (0) in his last over and halted Sultans to 177/6 in 18 overs.

When it all seemed to be going Qalandars’ way, Abbas Afridi glimmered a ray of hope for Sultans as he baton charged Haris Rauf in the 19th over, which went for 22 runs.

The game was hanging in balance when Zaman came to defend 13 runs in the final over with Khushdil set on his crease and Abbas striking astonishingly but the young right-arm pacer held his nerves in the clutch situation and yet again succeeded in defending the total for the Qalandars.

Following his exceptional death bowling, the Qalandars managed to seal a narrow one-run victory over the Sultans and became the first side to win two PSL titles in a row.

Shaheen led the bowling attack for the Qalandars with 4/51, followed by Rashid’s 2/26. Wiese, on the other hand, made one scalp.

Lahore Qalandars’ inning 

Opting to bat first in the final, the defending champions managed to put on a massive total to defend at the back of a brilliant fifty by Abdullah Shafique and Shaheen Shah’s brisk 44.

Openers Fakhar Zaman and Tahir Baig started off cautiously for the Qalandars as the pair could raise 38 before Ihsanullah dismissed the latter on the last delivery of the fifth over to draw the first success for the Sultans.

Baig scored a quick 30 in just 18 deliveries, hitting five boundaries and a six.

Fakhar then joined hands with Abdullah and the duo added 57 runs for the second wicket but remained a touch slow in the process as they conceded 38 deliveries before Fakhar fell victim to Usama Mir.

The left-handed opener remained the notable run-getter for the Qalandars with 39 off 34.

Sam Billings (9) then put on a brief partnership with Abdullah and could add just 16 runs before Sultans’ spinners Usama and Khushdil Shah changed the dimension of the game.

Sultans’ spin duo struck thrice in four deliveries; removing Billings (9), Ahsan Hafeez (0) and Sikandar Raza (1) and bolstered their side to halt the Qalandars to 115/5 in 15 overs.

Following the slump, Qalandars’ skipper Shaheen stood up for his team by once again promoting himself in the batting order and counter-attacked with belligerent hitting.

Shaheen stitched a match-defining 66-run partnership with Abdullah for the sixth wicket before the latter finally perished in the 19th over after playing a sensible knock.

Abdullah top scored for the Qalandars with 65 in 40 deliveries, laced up with 10 boundaries including two sixes.

On the other hand, Shaheen continued his domination over clueless Sultans’ bowlers and took his side to amass the 200-run mark by hitting a six on the final delivery of the innings.

He remained unbeaten with his 15-ball 44 which featured two boundaries and five sixes.

Usama led the bowling attack for the Sultans with 3/24 while Ihsanullah, Khushdil and Anwar Ali could pick up a wicket apiece.


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