Recent Match Report – Final Qalandars vs Sultans 2022/23

Lahore Qalandars 200 for 6 (Shafique 65, Shaheen 44*, Mir 3-24) Multan sultans 199 for 8 (Rossouw 52, ​​Shaheen 4-51, Rashid 2-26) by one run

The PSL ends as it began. A clinical Lahore Qalandars produced a stone-cold death-bowling performance to beat Multan Sultans by one point, just as they did four weeks earlier to kick off this season. The closest ever PSL final came down to the last ball, with Sultans needing four to snatch the title from Qalandars. In the end, a heroic Khushdil Shah was diving to complete third at the end of the non-striker, and the Qalandars’ title defense was completed.
It all feels like it’s come full circle; after all, these two sides also played the final of the previous season, which yielded the same result. But for Qalandars this is a remarkable turnaround, a side that has been a laughing stock for the first half of league history. They have now become the undisputed dominant force in the PSL and are the first side to retain the title.
But that’s all secondary to the drama and madness of the finale, the last ball. The first match of the season came down to a bowling from Zaman Khan to Khushdil, with the Sultans needing four for the win, and finished shy of one run. Today, when Zaman threw the last ball of the tournament to Khushdil, the Sultans needed four. But there was a yorker, a scraped pinch in the on-side, a desperate struggle to steal an extra run, a run-out. And then there was bedlam.
Qalandars seemed to have knocked out Sultans by the time the last two overs rolled around. Their death-bowling machine had clicked into gear; Shaheen Shah Afridi, Zaman and Haris Rauf started to choke sultans. Tim David, Kieron Pollard and Anwar Ali fell in the three previous overs, and with 35 required in the last 12 balls, Sultans looked set to go.

But Khushdil and Abbas Afridi took advantage of a rare wayward death from Rauf to pillage 22, ending a stand with 13 needed from the last six balls. Zaman’s cunning tempo variations gave Sultans nothing until the last two balls, but a comical pair of byes after Zaman missed the chance to run Khushdil off from three yards out meant the dangerous man was on strike to clear the penultimate ball for four yards. to beat. But Zaman nailed his height again and Sultans fell just short.

Some time ago, Qalandars had won the toss and, unsurprisingly, elected to bat, with Mirza Baig flying out of the blocks. But Fakhar Zaman, on the other hand, was curiously restrained, eschewing the usual flamboyance for an abundance of prudence. When he hit one to Usama Mir he had scored 39 from 34; never in PSL history did he have a lower strike rate for an innings in which he scored at least 30 runs.

But Usama had only just started taking the wickets. On a surface where he suddenly found traction and bounced, he burst through Sam Billings defense on his next over, before Ahsan Hafeez got stuck up front for a golden duck. Sensing the power of spin, Rizwan gave Khushdil another over, and he duly cleared Sikandar Raza with his first ball, leaving Qalandars reeling at 112 for 5.

David Wiese was getting ready to charge out, but when he looked up to find that Shaheen had overshot rank and was already halfway to the battle’s edge. During a decisive, momentum-shifting last few overs, he showed why. Reinforcing a reputation he had unexpectedly built as a middle-order power hitter, he batted an unbeaten 44 from 15 deliveries as Qalandars amassed 85 runs in the last five overs. A removal of Ihsanullah in the 17th over was particularly noteworthy, the 24 coming out ensured Qalandars were ready for the huge finish they were to achieve. He was assisted by remarkably ordinary bowling as Sultans collapsed on attack, with the death bowling difference between the two sides proving crucial to the final result.

But as Sultans started, it didn’t have to go to extremes. Mohammad Rizwan knew an innings of accumulation would not suffice today, and flew off target, smashing four bounds from his first seven balls to set the tone, including a cathartic elimination of Shaheen in the third to net 20 runs. When Wiese uprooted Usman Khan’s stumps, Rizwan was more than happy to hand over the responsibility of striking power to Rilee Rossouw.
The South African is now PSL royalty and was happy to be of service. He underlined his quality by taking on Zaman, using both sides of the wicket to break three boundaries from the fifth, before helping to plunder 16 from Wiese immediately afterwards. Rauf was not spared either, his first two balls hammering for four and six as Sultans remained well ahead of speed. A Rashid Khan drive-off spawned a 30-ball half-century; Sultans had now stormed to 105 for 1 with half the innings to go.

But Rashid was unrestrained, and as one of them kept low to sneak through the South African’s defences, the sultan’s nerves began to fray. Rossouw did not appreciate the farewell to the Afghan and the tension crept back into the match. A stunning effort on Wiese’s border turned what should have been six into Rizwan’s dismissal, Qalandars stealthily dragging the asking price back up.

David and Pollard should have been well placed to correct that, but leaving too much for the last overs against a bowling attack of Qalandars’ quality had bitten Sultans earlier. Pollard sent Shaheen straight up into the air before the Qalandars captain returned to remove David, Anwar and Mir all in the same over, and a question percentage that hovered around 11 just four overs ago was now over 17.

Khushdil and Afridi would almost pull it off, but in the end, in a match that went down to the narrowest of margins, Qalandars and a partisan home crowd would get their way. Players from both sides sank to their knees as fireworks exploded overhead. The destination of the PSL trophy was determined. After all, it wasn’t going anywhere.