Lahore Qalandars face Multan in Qualifier
15 March, 2023
LAHORE-After the completion of jam-packed and high-octane 30 league-stage matches, the Playoffs of HBL PSL 8 are commencing today (Wednesday) with Lahore Qalandars taking on Multan Sultans in the Qualifier here at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium.
This edition of the HBL PSL has seen many records tumble. It has seen the highest successful run chase ever (when Multan Sultans chased down 243 against Peshawar Zalmi), the fastest century (by Multan Sultans’ Usman Khan off 36 balls), highest individual score (Jason Roy’s 145 not out), most centuries in an HBL PSL edition (seven) and highest-ever match aggregate in the history of T20 cricket of 515 in the match between Multan Sultans and Quetta Gladiators.
As the battle for the prestigious SuperNova Trophy and yearlong bragging rights enters its final stage, Lahore will remain under spotlight for the entire week as the Gaddafi Stadium stages the much-anticipated matches of PSL 8. Qalandars have their tails up as they enter the Playoffs with seven wins. Fakhar Zaman is the top run-getter for Qalandars with 378 runs at a strike rate of 171.04 while Abdullah Shafique (193 at 144.02), Sikandar Raza (198 runs at 188.57) and Sam Billings (179 runs at 146.72) are also in good form.
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Lahore Qalandars also boast one of the most dangerous bowling lineups that has helped them record biggest win ever in the PSL (by 119 runs) against Islamabad United. Captain Shaheen Afridi (14 wickets at an average of 18.78) leads a pace attack that also include Zaman Khan (12 wickets at 22.08) and Haris Rauf (14 wickets at 23.07). Rashid Khan’s (15 wickets at 13) wily spin keeps the batters guessing in the middle-overs.
Shaheen Afridi said: “I am delighted with the consistency my team has shown in this edition. This team’s foundation is laid on the values of brotherhood and the way everyone backs and supports each other in the field is just a reflection of that. “We are very thankful to our fans on their continuous support. We have seen houseful matches in Home of Qalandars where the crowd turns out in large numbers to support us. We cannot wait to repay their faith with another title.” For the first half of the PSL 8, Multan Sultans dominated the points table by rolling over oppositions at their home. Though, they have faced more losses than wins since moving out of Multan, Muhammad Rizwan’s side will take heart from the fact that his batting chased down the highest ever PSL and joint-second highest run-chase overall in T20 cricket, recorded the highest PSL team total of 262 in their last group match. Multan Sultans finished second on the points table.
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Their young pacers Abbas Afridi (22 wickets at 14.95) and Ihsanullah (20 wickets at 14.60) lead the bowling charts while leg-spinner Usama Mir (12 wickets at 25.41) has been instrumental in the middle-overs. In batting, Captain Rizwan is the tournament’s most successful batter with 483 runs at 145.04 and Rossouw is fourth with 388 runs at 176.36 while Usman Khan turned heads in Multan Sultans’ last group match with the fastest century of the tournament history.
Muhammad Rizwan said: “The first half of the tournament went really well for us and then we lost the way in between. But, I am very happy with how we have made a comeback strongly and ensured that we qualify for the Playoffs, where we enter with some great fighting spirit and that is what is needed towards the backend of a tournament like the PSL. We are eyeing our third consecutive PSL final now, and we will try to lift the trophy this time.”
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