Qalandars eye maiden title, in-form Sultans keen to create history

Qalandars eye maiden title, in-form Sultans keen to create history


The Grand finale of PSL 2022 is set to be played today (Sunday)

Qalandars eye maiden title, in-form Sultans keen to create history

After non-stop action for nearly a month, the seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to come to an end with a grand finale on Sunday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

More than 400 sixes have been smashed by the batters in the competition whereas more than 900 fours have been hit as well.

Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, PSL 2022 is being organised at just two venues — Karachi and Lahore.

At the National Stadium, the difference between teams winning after batting first or second is minimal whereas at the Gaddafi Stadium, teams batting first clearly have an edge.

At the National Stadium, scores were comparatively higher and it seemed that batting was a little easier. However, at the Gaddafi Stadium, batters found it hard to score against bowlers who know hot vary the pace.




In the final of the first edition of the PSL, it was Islamabad United who came out on top against Quetta Gladiators in Dubai. The star of the show for the winning team was Dwayne Smith (73 off 51) and Brad Haddin (61 not out off 39).

In the final of the second edition, which was the PSL match staged in Pakistan, it was Darren Sammy-led Peshawar Zalmi who defeated Quetta Gladiators to clinch their maiden title by 58 runs.

In the PSL 2018, United once again emerged as the champions after beating defending champions Peshawar Zalmi by three wickets at the Gaddafi Stadium.

In the 2019 edition, it was Quetta Gladiators who finally came out on top in their third try and defeated Zalmi in the final at the National Stadium in Karachi.


In the fifth season, it was Karachi Kings who defeated arch-rivals Lahore Qalandars while playing at their home ground, National Stadium. It was the first time where none out of Gladiators, United or Zalmi featured in the final.

Last year, it was Multan Sultans who proved to be too strong for Zalmi and ended up winning their maiden title with a comprehensive win.


What to expect:

For the grand finale, a full house is expected for the clash. In terms of playing conditions, the pitch is likely to be on the slower side and the team winning the toss is likely to bat first.

Ahead of the all-important clash, let’s have a look at how both teams fared for the final and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.


The consistent Sultans:

Multan Sultans will enter the final of the event as the firm favourites as they became the only team in the history of the competition with 10 wins, including nine in the league stage.

The dominance showed by Sultans is unprecedented in the history of PSL as no team came close to them in nearly any of the fixtures.

By doing that, they became only the second team after Peshawar Zalmi to qualify for the final while defending their title.




Sultans’ strength is their batting unit where all players fulfilled the designated role with absolute perfection.

They are led by in-form captain and wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan who has already scored 532 runs at an outstanding average of 76 along with the strike-rate of 126.96, which included seven half-centuries.

While doing that, he became the only batter in the history of PSL to score more than 500 runs in two seasons.

He is being exceptionally supported by his opening partner Shan Masood who has already amassed 459 runs at an average of 41.72 along with the strike-rate of 138.67, which included four scores of 50 or more.

Shan Masood


The duo has been exceptional at the very top and is averaging 60 runs for the opening partnership, the highest amongst all the opening partnerships in the competition.

The secret behind their success is their ability to rotate the strike and play the least amount of dot balls compared to any other opening pair in the league.

Other than them, there is Rilee Rossouw—the player of the match for the defending champions in the playoff—who has scored 260 runs at an average of over 43.

The emergence of Khushdil Shah — who was always renowned for his hard-hitting lower down the order — as an all-rounder has turned Sultans into a real powerhouse.

The 27-year-old has scored 121 runs at an average of 24.20 along with a blistering strike-rate of 198.36 whereas he has also been the joint second-highest wicket-taker in the competition with his teammate Imran Tahir with 16 scalps to his name at an average of 12.31.

One of their key strength has been their spin bowling, especially after the arrival of Asif Afridi who has not only claimed five wickets in four matches but also gave away runs at an economy rate of seven runs per over.


He along with Tahir squeeze runs in the middle phase of the innings.

Moreover, another aspect that cannot be ignored is the captaincy of Rizwan who has been undoubtedly the most influential leader in the competition.

He remains calm under pressure and always gives the feeling that things are completely in control no matter how grim the situation is.

If Sultans manage to win back-to-back PSL titles under his captaincy, it will surely increase voices in favour of Rizwan to name him the captain of the national side as well, at least in the T20 format.




While it is hard to figure out the weakness in Sultans’ contingent, the absence of Tim David might weaken their batting lineup.

The right-hander still has the joint-most number of sixes (20) in the competition but is unlikely to take part in the all-important fixture as he tested positive for Covid-19.

Even though he has been replaced by a very capable batter Johnson Charles but to expect him to produce a similar kind of performance as David has showcased earlier will be a little unrealistic.


Unpredictable Lahore Qalandars


Lahore Qalandars will enter the contest as an underdog, despite playing in front of the home crowd, largely because they will be going up against an in-form Multan Sultans who also defeated them in the Qualifier, that too comprehensively.



Lahore Qalandars’ strength is their bowling department, which is by far the most potent, at least on paper.

The fast-bowling unit is full of matchwinners who have the ability to turn the game upside down by claiming timely breakthroughs.

It is because of this reason that they are the most successful team at the backend of the innings, having claimed the most number of wickets amongst all the bowling units in the competition.


The leader of the pack is captain Shaheen Shah Afridi who is also the highest wicket-taker for the franchise in the competition.

He also has the services of young Zaman Khan who is exceptional at the death and has already produced numerous match-winning performances, at least at the back end of the innings.

Haris Rauf’s presence is always a positive for the unit as he has the pace to trouble any batter but there is always a risk of him going for runs, which makes him a troubled package for the captain and the fans as well.

The spin department looks more than handy, especially since Mohammad Hafeez has started bowling. He is extremely economical and also has the ability to take wickets at crunch moments.

Fakhar Zaman’s outstanding form with the bat is another positive for Qalandars going into the big match. He is already the leading run-getter in the competition and is extremely close to becoming the first batter to score more than 600 runs in a single PSL season.

Fakhar Zaman


Shaheen’s captaincy has been extremely encouraging for the cricket fans in the country as he has made some bold calls and looked relatively calm under pressure.

However, come the big day, his captaincy will be challenged in front of the home crowd and against a seasoned campaigner like Rizwan.



When the tournament started, many expected the batting department to be Qalandars’ Achilles’ heel and that is proving to be the case as well.

The side is extremely dependent on the form of Fakhar Zaman and in the matches, where he has failed to deliver, the side never looked like putting up any fight.


It is pretty evident that it will be nothing less than a miracle if Qalandars managed to lift the trophy with just one batter in form.

Therefore, with the title on the line for the second time in three years, the management will be hoping for a much better display from the rest of the batting unit, especially from the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Ghulam and Phil Salt who have failed to meet the expectations thus far.

With the departure of Rashid Khan, Qalandars’ spin attack look slightly weaker compared to what it was before even though Fawad Ahmed is a more than capable replacement and there is also an option of Samit Patel, Hafeez and Kamran Ghulam.

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