Karachi & Lahore chase history in dream HBL PSL 2020 final clash
LAHORE: A dream final line-up of Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars, a wish of millions of HBL Pakistan Super League fans since its inception, is now true as the two rivals play for the coveted and prestigious trophy at the National Stadium in what should be an epic final on Tuesday night. After an eight-month Covid-19-enforced break following the end of the group-stage, the HBL PSL playoffs began on Saturday with a thrilling Qualifier, between table-toppers Multan Sultans and Kings. Kings, helped by a stunning bowling performance of Mohammad Amir in the Super Over, held their nerves to book a place in the final. Qalandars brushed aside Peshawar Zalmi by five wickets in the Eliminator 1 on the back of an unbeaten 74 by Mohammad Hafeez after which David Wiese’s all-round exploits helped the side, who had finished at the bottom of the table in each of the first four seasons, seal a berth in the final with a convincing 25-run win over Sultans in Eliminator 2. This is the first time these two sides are featuring in a HBL PSL final. Both sides flaunt top T20 cricketers who have played an integral role in their progression over the course of the tournament. Karachi Kings’ Babar Azam dominates the chart for the highest run-getters. He sits at the top with 410 runs at a staggering average of 51.25. He has the most fifties in the tournament to date and his 48 fours are the most hit by any batsman in this edition. Babar also holds the distinction of being the highest run scorer in T20 cricket this year with 1,179 runs at 53.59. Alex Hales is another batsman who has been at his destructive best as he has stroked 261 runs at an average of over 52 and a strike rate just under 152. Mohammad Amir, fresh after delivering an immaculate Super Over, will spearhead Kings’ bowling attack. With 10 wickets in a many matches, he is his side’s leading wicket-taker this edition. The left-arm pacer has an economy rate of 7.44. Qalandars pace attack is led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has had an impressive run in the shorter format in T20 cricket. The left-arm quick leads the list of bowlers with most wickets with 17 scalps at just 17.70 runs per dismissal and an impressive economy of seven. He is joined by pace-sensation Haris Rauf, who has the most T20 wickets – 50 at an average of 19.48 – in 2020. All-rounder David Wiese and Dilbar Hussain with 12 wickets each are locked at the fourth spot. Qalandars boast a strong batting unit with Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman and Ben Dunk –placed second, third and fourth, respectively, in the list of top run-getters this season. All three batsmen have scored two half-centuries. - APP