LAHORE: Multan Sultans Wednesday lived up to their reputation as they carved out another crucial victory to safely land in the final of the seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League at a jam-packed Gaddafi Stadium.
Defending champions Multan carved out the 10th victory of the season out of 11 matches as they defeated Lahore Qalandars by 28 runs to make it to the final for the second consecutive year.
However, Qalandars would get another shot to make it to the finals and take on Multan as they would be up against the winner of first eliminator match between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United in the second qualifier.
Lahore Qalandars were off to a slow start in their chase to 164 and their batsmen struggled to find opportunities to hit freely.
However, opener Fakhar Zaman gave Lahore hope and they were looking to cruise through the match at one stage but a middle-order collapse by Sultans bowlers dashed their hopes.
Fakhar also broke the record of most runs in a single edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Fakhar has scored 584 runs so far this year with an average of 53.09 and strike rate of 155.73. He has smashed 20 sixes and 53 boundaries this season as well. With at least one game in hand, Fakhar is poised to break the 600-run barrier for a single edition as well.
Fakhar is only the third batsman to score 500 runs in a single edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Mohammad Rizwan is the only player who has scored 500 runs in consecutive editions of the PSL-2021 and 2022. Babar Azam (Karachi Kings) had also scored 500 plus runs in a single edition of PSL in PSL 2021 as he had scored 554 runs, a record of most runs in a single edition of the tournament broken by Fakhar.
Fakhar smashed 63 runs off 45 deliveries against Multan Sultans at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium to reach this milestone of the most runs in a single edition of PSL. Fakhar also hit three consecutive sixes to Imran Tahir in the 12th over. Overall, he hit four sixes and two boundaries in his innings
With another score of 50 plus, Fakhar has also broken Babar Azam’s record of most scores of 50 and more in a single edition of the Pakistan Super League. Fakhar, in this season, has scored 7 half-centuries and one century, Babar Azam last year had scored 7 scored of fifty or more in the tournament.
Kamran Ghulam with his 20 runs was the other main contributor as no other batsmen could rise to the occasion to give a helping hand to Fakhar. Lahore Qalandars finished their innings on 135-9 in allotted 20 overs.
Shahnawaz Dahani took three wickets giving away just 19 runs. David Willey took 2-23, while Asif Afridi, Khushdil Shah and Rumman Raees all took one wicket apiece.
Earlier, Lahore Qalandars won the toss and invited Multan Sultans to bat first they did really well to restrict Sultans to 163.
Qalandars bowlers bowled superbly and did not give room to Sultans batsmen to hit freely. Especially Mohammad Hafeez was exceptional who gave away just 16 runs in his 4 overs and took 1 wicket. Hafeez also completed his 200 T20 wickets in the process.
Sultans innings started to a rocky start as Hafeez struck on the first ball of his first over, which was the second over of the Sultans innings, to remove inform Shan Masood as Sultans lost their first wicket for three runs. Shan could score only two runs off five balls.
Emerging player Aamer Azmat joined captain Rizwan and played a good knock of 33 runs off 22 balls. Sultans finished the first powerplay with 45-1 on the board. Aamer was next to go when he was stumped by Phil Salt when he tried to go for a big one against Samit Patel after mustering 47 runs for a second-wicket partnership with Rizwan.
Rossouw then joined Rizwan and sped the things somehow but there was no free hitting opportunities. Rizwan played almost ball by a run innings.
Rossouw hit a six and seven fours as he remained unbeaten for his 65 runs off 42 balls at a strike rate of 154.76.
Rizwan also remained unbeaten making 53 off 51 balls and hitting five boundaries in the process as Sultans scored 163-2 after 20 overs.
Multan Sultans captain Rizwan is also right on his heels as he is now second with 532 runs with an impressive average of 76. Meanwhile, Rizwan also hit his fourth successive 50+ score in this PSL edition and this was also his 7th this season, equaling the record of Babar.