LAHORE: On a night of attrition, the showman Afridi proved his mettle first with the bat when he promoted himself after his team faced the barrel and played a cameo of 44 runs off 15 balls including 2 boundaries and five 6s to raise his team to 200-6 and later claimed four wickets for 51 runs to down Multan Sultan by one run in one of the most exciting finals of the league cricket.
Multan Sultans needed 13 runs of the final over after some lusty hitting from all-rounder Abbas Afridi who plundered 22 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Haris Rauf but Zaman Khan, known for his nerve as a death-bowling bowler, conceded 11 runs to save the day for the Qalandars.
Multan Sultans had started briskly in pursuit of 201 runs when Mohamamd Rizwan and Usman Khan had gleaned 41 runs off 3.3 overs before Usman Khan fell to David Wiese.
Rilee Rossouw scored a quick-fire 52 runs off 32 balls while Mohammad Rizwan played a cautious knock of 34 (23) in a partnership of 61 runs off 42 balls but the Qalandars, known for their bowling prowess, took control of things after Kieron Pollard fell to Shaheen Shah Afridi in the 16th over with score at 146-4 and his fall started a mini-collapse which brought the Sultan to their knees.
Shaheen Shah Afridi, who was mauled by Usman Khan and Mohammad Rizwan, had conceded 35 runs off his first two overs but came back strong that he grabbed four wickets in 12 balls including Pollard 19 (16), Tim David 19 (16), Usama Mir 0 (1) and Anwar Ali 1 (2).
Khushdi Shah in a cameo of 25 (12) and Abbad Afridi 17 (6) tried to adversity into success and came close to win it for Sultans but they fell short by one run in pursuit of glory.
Rashid Khan picked two wickets in four economical overs for 26 runs while David Wiese claimed one wicket for 31 runs off his quota. Haris Rauf and Zaman Khan conceded 49 and 33 runs in their quota without success.
Earlier, Lahore Qalandars plundered 88 runs off 35 balls to reach 200-5 in the 20 overs after they faced the barrel with five wickets down in the 15th over of their innings but Abdullah Shafique and Shaheen Shah Afridi revived the fortunes of their team through responsible knocks to enable it to win second straight title of the HBL PSL.
Abdullah Shafique, dropped on zero by Kieron Pollard off his bowling, went on to hit 65 off 40 balls as he built an all important partnership of 66 runs of 27 balls with Shaheen Shah Afridi and by the time he got out in the 19th over, the Qalandars had reached the safe waters with the team total at 178-6.
Shaheen Shah Afridi, who promoted himself in the batting order for yet another innings, played a captain’s knock in a cameo of 44 runs off 15 balls including two boundaries and five 6s which helped the Qalandars reach the 200-6 on a night of fluctuating fortunes
The Lahore Qalandars had started fluently when in-form Mirza Tahir Baig hit Sheldon Cottrell for a boundary and a six in the first over of the innings and did the bulk of scoring for the Qalandars as Fakhar Zaman stood like a spectator during the first five overs of the power-play.
When Tahir 30 (18) fell in the fifth over Fakhar had scored only 7 off 12 balls out of the 38 runs scored but he fell for 39 (34) when Usama Mir was introduced to bamboozle the batters with his leg-spin bowling.
Lahore Qalandars had scored 94-1 by the time strategic time-out was taken at the close of the 11 over but lost their way as they lost four wickets for 17 runs off the 18 balls in the 15th over with Usama Mir and Khushdil Shah…
… all wickets between them. Usama Mir, who claimed the scalp of Fakhar Zaman in his very first over of the spell, was on a hat-trick in his second over when he got rid of Sam Billings and Ahsan Hafeez but it was averted by Sikandar Raza.
Part-timer Khushdil Shah accounted for Sikandar Raza in the second and last over of his spell. The proverbial nelson proved accursed for the Qalandars as they lost two wickets on 111.
Usama Mir was the most successful bowler for the Sultans who claimed three wickets for 24 runs off his three overs while Anwar Ali, Khushdil Shah and Ihsanullah claimed one wicket each for 46, 11 and 37 runs
Ihsanullah, who had conceded one run for one wicket off his first over when he claimed the wicket of in-form Mirza Tahir Baig who tried to hook a rising bouncer and ended up gloving the ball to the short third-man, leaked 37 runs in three overs he bowled with the third plundered for 24 runs by Shaheen Shah Afridi. Ihsanullah finished the tournament with 22 wickets behind Abbas Afridi.
Abbas Afridi, the leading wicket-taker with 23 wickets in the HBL PSL 8, went wicketless in his quota of four overs and conceded 38 runs.
Sheldon Cottrell proved expensive and conceded 24 runs in his two overs and was not asked to bowl again by captain Mohammad Rizwan. Kieron Pollard, Player of the Match of the qualifier, bowled two overs for 18 runs without success.
In the head to head matches prior to the final of the HBL PSL 8, both the team stood at 8-8 and the victory means that Lahore Qalandars have moved ahead with the ninth win against their rivals.
The winners Lahore Qalandars have been awarded a prize money of 120 million rupees while the runners-up Multan Sultan received 40.80 million rupees.
The ‘Player of the Final’ will be awarded 3 million rupees while the ‘Most Run Getter’, ‘Best Bowler’ and ‘Emerging Palyer’ receive 3.5 million each.
Mohammad Rizwan won (Best wicket-keeper & Best Batter of the HBL PSL 8), Ihsanullan (Bowler & Player of the HBL PSL), Kieron Pollard (Fielder of HBL PSL), Abbas Afridi (Emerging Player of PSL 8) while Imad Wasim was adjudged (All-rounder of the HBL PSL 8).
Peshawar Zalmi was awarded ‘Spirit of Cricket’ trophy for the year 2023 while Alex Wharf was adjudged umpire of the HBL PSL 8.
Chairman PCB Management Committee Najam Sethi gave away the HBL PSL 8 trophy to the Lahore Qalandars captain Shaheen Shah Afridi.