Tuesday 17th November saw the Final of Pakistan Superleague 5 – a landmark day for the tournament as in its 5th year all games were played in Pakistan. The final itself taking place in The National Stadium in Karachi.
The final was between the Karachi Kings and the Lahore Qalanders, meaning anew team would lift the trophy in 2020. The line ups:
- Babar Azam
- Sharjeel Khan
- Alex Hales
- Chadwick Walton (wk)
- Imad Wasim (c)
- Iftikhar Ahmed
- Mohammad Amir
- Sherfane Rutherford
- Umaid Asif
- Arshad Iqbal
- Waqas Maqsood
- Tamim Iqbal
- Fakhar Zaman
- Sohail Akhtar (c)
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Ben Dunk (wk)
- Samit Patel
- David Wiese
- Muhammad Faizan
- Shaheen Afridi
- Haris Rauf
- Dilbar Hussain
Sohail Akhtar won the toss for Lahore and elected to bat, that was a decision that he may live to regret. This was a match which would see Pakstan’s batting star, Babar and one of their young bowling hopes Shaheen Afridi up against each other.
Tamim Iqbal and Fakhar opened the batting, I’m going to make my confession here, I support Karachi, so wasn’t thrilled to see the pair start off well. However they both fell in the 11 over, with only 69 on the board, so although both seemed to be going well, Tamim with 35 from 38 balls and a strike rate of 92.11 and Fakhar with 27 from 24 balls and a strike rate of 112.50 wasn’t brilliant in this T20 Final. Both fell to a great catch from Iftikhar from the bowling of Asif and Lahore were 69 for 2. Fakhar didi however finish 2nd in the batting table with 325 runs at an average of 27.08.
In came Hafeez, he’d played well to get his team to the final, but hit a poor shot straight up into the air from the bowling of Imad, Babar took a clean catch and Hafeez was out for just 2 having faced just 4 balls. He finished 3rd in the batting table with 312 runs at an average of 39.00. Lahore were 70 for 3 after 11.1 overs.
Samit Patel, an experienced white ball player had come in at 5, I saw him beat my team Essex in a Royal London Cup play off match with a wonderful century, he belted his Notts team mate Imad for a mighty 6, but was out for just 11, another catch this time for Maqsood from the bowling of Iqbal. That added up to Lahore being 81 for 4 after 13.3 overs.
Ben Dunk had come in at 6, I was surprised to see the captain Sohail Akhtar joining him, rather than David Wiese who’d been a real danger man in the play-off games. He and Dunk put on just 16 runs in the following 13 balls, Dunk was out, caught by Babar from the bowling of Iqbal, he’d made just 5 from 8 balls. Lahore were 95 for 5 after 15.4 overs.
That did bring David Wiese in, but there were to be no heroics from him in this final. However Sohail’s was the next wicket to fall, he’d made 14 from 14 balls before a cracking catch, low down from Rutheford. At 110 for 6 things weren’t going too well for Lahore. A very useful 12 from 4 balls from Shaheen Afridi took Lahore to 134 for 7 in their 20 overs. Karachi had both bowled and fielded as if a trophy was at stake! They were also playing in the memory of Dean Jones, who sadly passed away while working as a commentator in India; he’d coached the team during the earlier stages of the tournament, a cut out of him stood next to Wasim Akram throughout the play offs.
Sharjeel and Babar opened the batting for what on the face of it should have been an easy run chase. Sharjeel made 13 from 12 balls before he was caught by Fakhar from the bowling of Samit Patel, in line with the theme of the match it was a great catch! Karachi were 23 for 1 in the 4th over.
Alex Hales joined Babar but he faced just 11 balls before a great ball from Dilbar Hussain saw his middle stump fly, Karachi were 49 for 2 after 6.5 overs. Chadwick Walton playing at keeper ahead of Pakistan’s choice for white ball cricket Rizwan, made 22 before he was trapped, plumb, LBW by Hussain, and Karachi were 110 for 3 after 15.1 overs. They required 35 in 29 balls.
I started biting my nails when Iftikhar was out for 4, caught by Wiese from the bowling of Haris Rauf, Karach were 124 for 4, then Rutherfod was out for a Golden Duck, caught by Akhtar and putting Rauf on a hat-trick! They couldn’t collapse and lose could they?
Happily, as a Karachi fan, cool captain Imad came in and calmed things down. He ended the match on 10 from 7 balls and Babar on 63 from 49 and Karachi won the game and the trophy with 8 balls remaining. Babar who is the top run scorer in T20 in the world this year scored 473 PSL runs at an average of 59.12.
Babar was named Player of the Tournament as well as taking the Best Batsman honour. Shaheen Shah Afridi was Best Bowler, Ben Dunk – Best Keeper and Fakhar – Best Fielder, so Lahore didn’t go home empty handed. PSL5 was a complete success in spite of the Covid Virus interrupting things.