Lahore Qalandars 200 for 6 (Shafique 65, Shaheen 44*, Mir 3-24) beat Multan Sultans 199 for 8 (Rossouw 52, Shaheen 4-51, Rashid 2-26) by one run
But Khushdil and Abbas Afridi capitalised on a rare wayward death over from Rauf to plunder 22, setting up a grandstand finish with 13 needed off the final six balls. Zaman’s wily pace variations gave Sultans nothing until the final two balls, but a comical pair of byes after Zaman missed the chance to run Khushdil out from three yards out meant the danger man was on strike to pummel the penultimate ball away for four. But Zaman nailed his length once more, and Sultans ended up just short.
But Usama was only just getting started with the wickets. On a surface where he suddenly found grip and bounce, he burst through Sam Billings’ defences his next over, before Ahsan Hafeez was trapped in front for a golden duck. Sensing the potency of spin, Rizwan gave Khushdil another over, and he duly cleaned up Sikandar Raza with his first ball, leaving Qalandars tottering at 112 for 5.
David Wiese was getting ready to charge out, only to look up and found Shaheen had pulled rank and was already halfway to the batting crease. Over a decisive, momentum shifting final few overs, he demonstrated why. Bolstering a reputation he has unexpectedly accrued as a middle-order power-hitter, he bludgeoned an unbeaten 44 off 15 deliveries as Qalandars amassed 85 runs in the final five overs. A takedown of Ihsanullah in the 17th over was particularly notable, the 24 that came off it setting Qalandars up for the huge finish they would achieve. He was assisted by some notably ordinary bowling as Sultans crumpled in the face of the onslaught, the difference in death bowling between the two sides proving crucial to the final outcome.
But Rashid wasn’t to be kept down, and as one kept low to sneak through the South African’s defences, Sultans nerves began to fray. Rossouw didn’t appreciate the Afghan’s send-off and tension crept back into the game. A stunning effort on the boundary from Wiese converted what should have been six into the dismissal of Rizwan, Qalandars were furtively dragging the asking rate back up.
David and Pollard should have been well-placed to correct that, but leaving too much for the final overs against a bowling attack of Qalandars’ quality had bitten Sultans before. Pollard miscued Shaheen straight up into the air before Qalandars’ captain returned to remove David, Anwar and Mir all in the same over, and an asking rate that hovered around 11 just four overs ago was up in excess of 17 now.
Khushdil and Afridi would nearly pull it off, but in the end, in a contest that went down to the barest of margins, Qalandars, and a partisan home crowd, would get their way. Players from both sides sunk to their knees while fireworks erupted above. The PSL trophy’s destination was decided. It was going nowhere after all.