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Hafeez leads the way for Lahore Qalandars' maiden PSL title


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The law of averages finally caught up with Multan Sultans who, after setting the seventh edition of PSL ablaze with some of the highest totals, faltered spectacularly in a chase of 181 in the finale as veteran Mohammad Hafeez's brilliant all-round display (69 and 2-23) handed Lahore Qalandars their maiden title at home on Sunday (February 27).

Having opted to bat first, Qalandars were in trouble early when they lost their top-three inside powerplay for a mere 25 on the board. However, Hafeez stepped up just when it mattered with a 46-ball 69, stitching two useful half-century partnerships before Harry Brook (41* off 22) and David Wiese (28* off 😎 provided the finishing touches in an explosive finish.

Asif Afridi struck twice to leave Qalandars at 25 for 3 two balls into the fifth over, but Hafeez joined hands with Kamran Ghulam (15) to add 54 runs for the fourth wicket stand that he dominated. Asif broke that partnership too to get Sultans a much-needed breakthrough at a crucial juncture but Hafeez and Brook picked up pace after just one quiet over to turn the tables on Sultans.

Hafeez notched up his maiden fifty of the season, off 36 deliveries, in the 15th over but Brook took charge shortly afterwards, starting with a 4, 6, 6 off Rumman Raees in the 20-run 17th over. Shahnawaz Dahani hit back for Sultans with the wicket of well-settled but Wiese picked right from there and struck three towering sixes and a four in the final two overs, propelling Qalandars to a mammoth 180/5 form their allotted overs with as many as 87 coming off just the last six of them.

His memorable night continued as Hafeez returned on the other side of the break with the new ball in hand and sent in-form Mohammad Rizwan and Aamer Azmat packing cheaply to leave Sultans reeling on 46/3 just after powerplay. The top-order stutter not only sucked the momentum off their chase early but also never allowed Sultans any shot at recovery. Playing catch up, they were soon reduced to 63 for 5 halfway through the 11th over as Zaman Khan struck twice in his succeeding overs.

Behind the eight ball, Tim David (27 off 17) combined with Khushdil Shah (32 off 23) to reignite faint hopes of a come-from-behind narrative with their brisk 51-run stand in just 5.3 overs. However, with the asking rate nearly up to 17 for the last four, Tim fell to a splendid forward-diving catch by Fakhar Zaman at deep-midwicket in his attempt to hit out.

Shaheen Afridi made it a double-wicket over when he handed David Willey a golden duck with an absolute toe-crusher to all but seal the contest for his side. He had another wicket with his name on it in the penultimate over that made him the season's top wicket-taker with 20 scalps, but Khushdil's departure in the previous over was the final nail in the coffin for Sultans who had thoroughly dominated the league phase with nine wins in ten games.

Brief scores: Lahore Qalandars 180/5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Hafeez 69, Harry Brook 41*, David Wiese 28*; Asif Afridi 3-19) beat Multan Sultans 138 allout in 19.3 overs (Khushdil Shah 32; Shaheen Afridi 3-30, Mohammad Hafeez 2-23) by 42 runs

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