Lahore Qalandars have done it yet again. And in the process, they became the first team in PSL history to successfully defend the title.
They didn’t have it easy though. Multan Sultans fought them tooth and nail in what was a very close contest. But, Shaheen Afridi stamped his authority in the finals like no one. First, he promoted himself with the bat and scored an impactful 44* (15), helping the Qalandars breach the 200 mark.
And then he continued business as usual with the ball as he took 4/17 in his two overs at the death, including the key wickets of Kieron Pollard and Tim David. Although, not before Mohammed Rizwan and Usman Khan carted him around the park for 34 runs in his new ball spell.
The lanky left-armer also shone through with his leadership skills, allowing fellow youngsters like Zaman Khan to flourish.
“I was feeling the pressure, but my captain backed me. Shaheen told me not to worry even if we lost the game. I enjoyed bowling the final over and we won the match”, gushed a jubilant Zaman while talking about his skipper.
When asked about the idea behind promoting himself up the order, Shaheen said that, “The idea was to fight till the very end and it paid off. At that time, I felt like I should go to bat and was lucky to get a few in the slot. To reach the final second time and win again is a great feeling. Credit to the entire team and coaching staff for keeping us comfortable ”
"I think it was tough early on when the momentum was swinging between them and us. But the idea was to fight till the very end and it paid off," added the skipper.
Unfortunately, it was a heartbreak for Mohammed Rizwan, the skipper of Multan Sultans, who rued the missed opportunity on the big day. Rizwan also emphasized on the consistency of the franchise, who now have reached three finals in a row, losing two of them, both to the Qalandars.
“There is always a pressure in finals. 200 is a big target but we had the batting to chase it down. We were on track but just couldn't finish the game. Credit goes to the entire team for getting us this far. Bowlers did their job when needed and the batters also performed to perfection. Lot of the special performers of the season were in my team. Only if we had got the title. But Shaheen and his boys played really well, and they deserve the title. It's an achievement to reach the finals and we've done it thrice in a row now. It's a great feeling,” he said at the post match ceremony.