It can’t get bigger than this, a Lahore Qalandars vs Karachi Kings final of the PSL. Should this match finally decide the battle of which city is better than the other, or at least until the next edition of PSL? Lahore and Karachi are just not the biggest cities of Pakistan but both are also the cultural hubs, both have their own style of everything. If you talk about Biryani then you might see Karachi a little…… oh wait, let’s don’t get into that because this will take things further away from cricket, let’s stick with cricket.
It’s 2020, things can’t go any further from normal when you have both Karachi and Lahore in the final of PSL. Both teams were the most expensive teams of PSL, always had great names playing for them but somehow, they would always find themselves bottom of the table. This year had other plans, earlier this year before PSL was disturbed by the Covid-19, the top fours were already decided. The most successful franchises IU and QG were already out of the tournament. LQ and KK peaked at the right moment now they find themselves fighting for the last time for this year’s championship.
Both teams or full of match-winners who can turn things around on their own, that’s what makes this final more exciting. If you look at the individuals who have single-handedly helped their team to get to the victory Lahore seems to have an edge on Karachi. Let’s start with their players who will be most important if Lahore wants to win.
What a year Hafeez is having, He’s like fine wine, getting better with age. Apart from having a great year in International cricket, Hafeez is having an amazing PSL as well. He is currently the second-highest run-scorer for the tournament with 310 runs at an average of 44.28 and a strike rate of just above 126. He almost single-handedly helped Lahore to secure a win in the Qualifier against Peshawar Zalmi. To win, Karachi must get him out as early as possible.
Haris is turning out to be a gem of a find for Lahore. He is the product of Lahore’s own talent hunt program and now he’s winning matches for them. Even though he missed some matches at the start of the tournament but he has found the rhythm for the last stage of the tournament and took an impressive 3 for 30 in their knock-out game against MS including mind-blowing yorker which left Shahid Afridi surprised. Karachi’s batting line must take it easy against Haris or things might turn out differently than they are anticipating.
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Pakistan’s young bowling sensation has impressed everyone in International cricket since his debut and he is one of the leading wicket-takers in t20s this year. He is also the leading wicket-taker of the tournament at the moment with 17 wickets with a decent economy rate of 7 runs per over. Shaheen is turning out to be the nightmare for the top-order batsmen, his in-swinging Yorkers sometimes seem unplayable from outside. He will be another player who will be deciding the fate of the final.
Well, Lahore might have not made it to the final of this season if it wasn’t for Ben Dunk‘s brilliance in the group stage of the tournament. He single-handedly took Lahore over the line in many crucial group-stage matches and currently leading the most sixes in the tournament with 23 sixes. His power-hitting against spinners can turn the match at any time. His inning of 99 not out against Karachi earlier this year consisted of 12 towering sixes so it’s fair to say Karachi must be planning on how to keep him quiet in the final.
His consistency makes him one of the best players in the world at the moment. No matter which format he’s playing, Babar is always hungry for runs and that’s what made him the highest run-scorer of the tournament this year. Babar is currently at 410 runs in the tournament with an impressive average of 51.25 and a strike rate of 123. Lahore might have great bowlers in their line-up but Babar can neutralize their edge in the powerplay with his amazing stroke play along the ground.
Amir currently might not be in the good books of PCB’s selection committee as he was left out for Pakistan’s tour to New Zealand but he can rattle any top batting line-up on his day. He might be having an average season with just 10 wickets in a similar number of matches but his super over against Multan Sultans took Karachi to the final. Lahore’s top order should be planning on how to tackle Amir’s attack earlier in the innings.
Overall, both teams are equally balanced and, on the day, both have equal capabilities to turn the final on any side. No matter which team wins, Fans should be expecting a cracker of the match as it’s PSL and both Karachi and Lahore never fail to add the drama element in any situation.
These were our top picks for the final, what are yours?