Lahore, Mar 19 (AP) Defending champion Lahore Qalandars recorded a stunning one-run win against Multan Sultans on the last ball of the final to win the Pakistan Super League and become the first team to retain the title on Saturday.
Needing four runs off the last delivery — bowled by Zaman Khan — Khusdil Shah was run out while going for the third run to level Lahore’s total of 200-6 as Multan finished at 199-8.
Shaheen Shah Afridi’s brilliant all-round performance propelled Lahore to a strong total with a belligerent 44 not out off just 15 balls, and the left-arm pacer then picked up four wickets in the death overs to finish with 4-51.
Khushdil and Abbas Afridi (17 not out) smacked fast bowler Haris Rauf for 22 runs in the penultimate over before Zaman kept his nerve in front of 25,000 fans to give the home team victory.
“It was difficult early on as the momentum swung in the final,” Afridi said. “We kept our nerves and succeeded to win crucial moments in the game.”
Both teams also played in last year’s final, and Lahore began with a one-run win against Multan in the opening game of this year’s tournament. Multan had beaten Lahore in the qualifier before Lahore beat Peshawar Zalmi in their elimination game.
Multan's top-order batters didn’t get bogged down against a star-studded Lahore bowling lineup as captain Mohammad Rizwan (34) and Usman Khan (18) plundered Afridi for 34 runs in his first two overs.
Rizwan, who finished the tournament as the top-scorer with 550 runs in 12 games, and Rilee Rossouw (52 in 32) then combined in a 64-run stand off 42 balls before ace leg-spinner Rashid Khan (2-26) dismissed both batters.
Rizwan was brilliantly snapped by David Wiese at long-on boundary and then Rossouw chopped Rashid’s turning ball back onto his stumps.
Afridi returned and got the big wickets of Kieron Pollard (19) and Tim David (20) before finishing off his spell by removing Anwar Ali and Usama Mir off his last two balls.
Multan brought down the target to eight off the final two deliveries. Khushdil lofted Zaman over extra covers for a boundary off the penultimate ball but couldn't take Multan over the line in the final delivery.
“My heart was pounding in the last over but my captain told me to try my best," Zaman said. “I knew batters are anticipating yorkers so I bowled a few slower ones as well.”
Earlier, Afridi followed the successful template of Lahore to bat first.
Abdullah Shafique made a risky 65 off 40 balls when Pollard couldn’t grasp a return catch before the batter had scored, and Afridi showed his batting prowess by hitting five sixes and two fours, after leg-spinner Usama Mir (3-24) picked up three quick wickets and Lahore had stumbled to 112-5 in the 15th over.
Multan’s top two wicket-takers in the tournament – Abbas Afridi and Ihsanullah – were smashed for 49 runs in three overs in the death overs as Afridi’s blistering knock allowed Lahore to add 71 runs off the last four overs. Abbas Afridi topped the bowling charts with 23 wickets in the tournament, followed by Ihsanullah on 22. (AP) ATK