By Sulman Ahmed
Lahore Qalandars made history by retaining the Pakistan Super League (PSL) title after they beat Multan Sultans in the last-ball thriller by one run at the Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday.
Chasing a daunting target of 201 runs, the Sultans came very close but they were restricted to 199.
During the run-chase, David Wiese provided the breakthrough in the fourth over of the innings after dismissing opener Usman Khan. The right-hander scored 18 runs in 12 balls.
Despite the early loss, the Sultans ensured that they kept up with the required run-rate as Rilee Rossouw and Mohammad Rizwan stitched an impressive partnership of 64 runs in 42 balls.
However, Rossouw was cleaned up by Rashid Khan just when the batter threatened to take the game away from the Qalandars. The South African scored 52 runs in 32 balls.
Rashid struck once again in his last over as Rizwan, 34 off 23, perished while trying to clear the long-on boundary.
Shaheen, who conceded 34 runs in his first two overs, came back in his second spell to clinch the wicket of the dangerous Kieron Pollard. The Windies all-rounder scored 19 runs in 16 balls.
Shaheen also bagged three wickets in his final over to put his side in a strong position to win the match. However, Haris Rauf conceded 22 runs in the penultimate over to ensure a thrilling finish to the match. But Zaman Khan held his nerve to get his team over the line in the final over of the match.
Earlier, the Qalandars scored 200-6 in their allotted 20 overs.
After a brisk start, where the Qalandars scored 34 runs in the first three overs, opener Tahir Baig was dismissed by Ihsanullah. The right-hander scored 30 runs in 18 balls.
The wicket, coupled with some good bowling, helped the Sultans stem the flow of runs.
Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique added 57 runs in 38 balls for the second wicket but, just when they decided to increase the rate of scoring, the Sultans dismantled the batting side’s plans with four quick wickets.
With Lahore struggling, captain Shaheen stepped out on the field and took the attack to bowlers with some sensational shot-making. He remained unbeaten on 44 runs in 15 balls, which included two fours and five maximums.
Shafique also accelerated towards the backend of the innings and ended up scoring 65 runs in 40 balls. He smacked eight fours and two sixes.
Usama Mir was the pick of the bowlers for the Sultans with figures of 3-24 in three overs.
Shaheen Afridi was named man of the match.