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Lahore Qalandars triumphed over Multan Sultans by just one run to lift the Pakistan Super League 2023 title for the second consecutive time. Captain Shaheen Shah Afridi led by example, hammering 44* off 15 deliveries and picking up four wickets in the final against Multan Sultans, as the latter fell just a run short while chasing a big target of 200 with commendable efforts.
Shaheen Afridi won the toss for Lahore Qalandars and elected to bat first at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. Both teams remained unchanged from their previous matches, thus coming into the big match with tested players. For Lahore, Mirza Baig and Fakhar Zaman returned to form and put in a crucial 38-run stand for the opening wicket. Baig smashed 30 off just 18 balls before getting caught out on Ihsanullah’s delivery in the fifth over.
Fakhar continued to add runs with a 57-run partnership with youngster Abdullah Shafique for the second wicket as the duo put the Qalandars on track for a big total. Usama Mir gave the Sultans the breakthrough they needed by picking up Zaman’s wicket in the 12th over, after he had scored 39 off 34 deliveries.
Shafique, however, managed to produce a brilliant fifty from the other end. He top-scored for Qalandars with 65 off 40 before getting out on Anwar Ali’s delivery in the 19th over. Usama Mir tried to contain Qalandars from scoring a big total with two more wickets but Shaheen played a captain’s knock by smashing 44* off just 15 balls with the help of two fours and five fifties to put a total of 200/6 on the board.
Chasing a big total, Usman Khan and Mohammad Rizwan smashed three fours off Shaheen’s first over to initiate the proceedings for Multan. The duo added a quick 41-run stand for the opening wicket. The South Africa-born veteran David Wiese gave Qalandars their first breakthrough with Usman’s wicket in the fourth over.
Rizwaan and Rilee Rossouw then pulled off an admirable stand of 64 runs for the second wicket. Rossouw smashed 52 off 32 deliveries as Sultans crossed the 100-run mark in just 10 overs. The top-ranked Afghan spinner Rashid Khan then came to the party and shifted the momentum towards Qalandars by dismissing both Rossouw and Rizwan in back-to-back overs.
Shaheen further put Qalandars in command with Kieron Pollard’s wicket in the 16th over and with three more wickets in the 18th over. But, Abbas Afridi and Khushdil Shah pulled 22 runs off Haris Rauf in the 19th over with two sixes and two fours. Finally, Zaman Khan defended 13 runs in the last over as Multan Sultans fell one run short of the target to finish as the second best side.
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