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Shaheen Afridi’s All-round Effort Leads Qalandars to Title-Defence By a Run

image-lfebeez4Qalandars celebrate after a thrilling final over (PCB)

Lahore Qalandars successfully defended their PSL crown by defeating familiar foes Multan Sultans in the final. Having lost against the same opponents by 84 runs a few days ago in the first qualifier, Shaheen Afridi and co. launched a remarkable fightback on the day it mattered the most.

Despite Sultans’ best efforts in a tight run-chase, the Qalandars stole the final by a run as they register their second PSL title in succession. Notably, they also won the previous edition of the tournament last year by defeating a Mohammad Rizwan-led Multan Sultans side in the title clash.

Afridi’s blitzkrieg puts Qalandars at 200

Lahore Qalandars openers Mirza Baig and Fakhar Zaman launched a rapid powerplay start, which allowed number three Abdullah Shafique to unleash a calculated 40-ball 65 in the innings.

Shafique shared 65 runs with Zaman, and another 66 runs with captain Shaheen Shah Afridi in the death before departing in the penultimate over. Afridi himself clubbed an unbeaten 44 off just 15 deliveries in a sparkling cameo which featured five sixes and two boundaries.

Sultans’ Usama Mir snared a three-fer in an innings where the rest of his teammates leaked runs as Qalandars posted a 200-run challenge upfront.

Highlights from Shaheen Afridi’s rearguard assault

Zaman Khan keeps cool as Qalandars steal thrilling final

In-form Multan Sultans opener and captain Mohammad Rizwan remained unfazed by the scoreboard pressure to counter-attack with his rapid 34. He formed a 64-run second-wicket stand with Rilee Rossouw to put their side back on course in the run-chase.

Notably, Rossouw himself wiped 52 runs of the task from his end in just 32 deliveries. Wickets fell in a cluster thereafter as Sultans were reduced to 166-7 by the end of the 18th over, still 35 runs away from glory with just 12 more deliveries in hand.

Qalandars’ prime spinner Rashid Khan dented Rizwan and co. by conceding just 26 runs and taking two wickets from his four-over spell. Meanwhile, captain Afridi snared four scalps, albeit in four expensive overs which leaked 51 runs.

Khushdil Shah launched a late fightback in the death with his 12-ball 25. However, his best efforts were not enough to match Zaman Khan’s tight last over as they fell just a run short of their second PSL title.

Highlights from thrilling final over

Brief scores:

Lahore Qalandars: 200-6 (20)
Abdullah Shafique 65 (40), Shaheen Shah Afridi 44* (15)
Usama Mir 3-24, Khushdil Shah 1-11

Multan Sultans: 199-8 (20)
Rilee Rossouw 52 (32), Mohammad Rizwan 34 (23)
Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-51, Rashid Khan 2-26

Lahore Qalandars won by one run