Mirza Baig steers Lahore Qalandars to second successive PSL final

LAhOrE QALAnDArS 176-6, 18.5 overs (Mirza Tahir Baig 54, Sam Billings 28, Sikandar raza 23; azmatullah omarzai 2-31) beat PEShAWAr zALMI 171-5, 20 overs (Muhammad Haris 85, Babar Azam 42; Zaman Khan 2-20, Rashid Khan 2-42) by 4 wickets.

Lahore         -       Mirza Tahir Baig’s sparkling half-century steered Lahore Qalandars to second successive PSL final after they beat Peshawar Zalmi by 4 wickets in the hBL Pakistan Super League 2023 eliminator 2 played here at jam-packed Gaddafi Stadium on Friday night. Qalandars, the home side, will now take on Multan Sultans in the PSL 8 Grand Finale today (Saturday) here at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium.

Multan Sultans have been consistent performers throughout the tournament, and they also beat Lahore Qalandars in the Qualifier to directly qualify for the final. Lahore Qalandars did wonders on Friday night by successfully chasing a target for the first time in PSL 8. Credit goes to inspiring batting display of Mirza Tahir Baig, who hammered 42- ball in 54 while middle-order batters Sam Billings (28 off 21) and Sikandar Raza (23 off 14) also made significant contributions as Qalandars chased the target of 172 with four wickets and seven balls spare.

Lahore Qalandars lost their most experienced player in Fakhar Zaman (6) in only the second over, but Baig played with great responsibility and stitched crucial partnerships worth 24 with debutant Ahsan Hafeez Bhatti, 31 with Abdullah Shafique and 50 with Billings over the course of his maiden PSL half-century. he smashed seven fours and two sixes. after his dismissal, Billings and Sikandar made their experience count by adding 28 runs in a steady partnership to ensure Peshawar Zalmi bowlers could not bounce back, as they did last night against Islamabad United.

They fell in the 17th and 18th overs but they had done enough to make sure that their team went over the line. The finishing touches came off Shaheen Afridi’s bat as Qalandars skipper smashed a four and a six to take his side over the line. The first half of the match was dominated by Muhammad haris, who hammered 85 off 54 with the help of 11 fours and two sixes. haris put up an 89-run partnership with his captain Babar Azam, who missed his PSL 8’s sixth halfcentury by eight runs, to lay a perfect platform for a big total.

But Rashid Khan’s double strikes in the 12th over that sent back Babar (42) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (0) brought down the scoring rate and after that no batter fired as Zalmi would have hoped. Bhanuka rajapaksa scored unbeaten 25 off 18 and Haris added 49 runs with the Sri Lankan before he was dismissed on the last ball of the 18th. Zaman Khan picked up Peshawar Zalmi’s first and last wicket as he bowled both Saim Ayub (9) and Aamir Jamal (1) in the first and last overs to claim 2-20 while Rashid bagged 2-42.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at azharmasood786@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt