If a time machine were invented today, sportspeople would be some of the first in line to want to go back and rectify their mistakes. After the final of the PSL last night, Lahore Qalandars will be wishing time machines were real, full of the kind of regret only a lost final can give. Karachi Kings, on the other hand, must be celebrating hard after beating their rivals. It was a low-scoring battle on a night where neither team was at their best on a two-paced, turning pitch, but there were plenty of interesting aspects to the match. Without further ado, here’s 5 talking points from Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars.
1. Steady or slow? The problem with taking too long to get settled
Whether Lahore Qalandars should have chosen to bat first on a two-paced pitch will be a debate that will go on forever. All that can be said is that they wanted to put the pressure of a chase on Karachi like they did with Multan. The problem is, they were just too slow to get going - something which ultimately never happened. Granted, it was a difficult pitch, but there’s just a point where you need to understand that you’re not being able to hit it as well as someone down the order might, and just preserving your wicket puts those lower down under immense stress as they don’t get the time to get settled before hitting them big. At that point, you should try to hit a few even if it means getting out in the process. Too many dots kill T20 innings as badly as wickets do.
2. Multiple failures and a subpar total
When Tamim Iqbal and Fakhar Zaman both fell in the 11th over, it was always going to be hard to recover, but Lahore just never made that recovery. The likes of Ben Dunk, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohail Akhtar, Samit Patel, and David Wiese only managed to score 3 boundaries between them. For Karachi, Waqas Maqsood, Arshad Iqbal, and Umaid Asif starred with two each, while Imad Wasim played a great cameo with figures of 2-0-6-1. All these factors led Lahore to the inadequate score of 134.
3. Guess who?
So, 134 to chase down on a difficult pitch in the high-pressure first final in the team’s history, and you need one player to lead the charge. A handful of names come to mind, and in that mix is the usual suspect as far as Pakistan is concerned - Babar Azam. The man not only scored the highest runs, but carried his team’s inning from start to finish. After his 63 off 49, the second-highest score was Chadwick Walton’s 22 off 27. The man has the determination of a soldier defending his homeland, and luckily for Karachi, they availed his valuable services.
4. The importance of consistency
White Babar Azam showed incredible consistency, the other expected highballers failed to do so. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Amir, both usually destructive with the ball, went for plenty of runs, and the list of batsmen and all-rounders from both teams who failed to deliver in the runs department could combinedly fill a lineup. While it was a tough pitch for sure, it would have felt good to see better performances from such experienced hands.
5. What set the two teams apart
Honestly, at the end of the day it came down to Karachi’s star batsman performing like a star.
Both teams made some strange choices with bowling - Imad Wasim chose not to bowl again after his 2 overs went for only 6 runs and came with a wicket, and Sohail Akhtar bizarrely didn’t ask Mohammad Hafeez or even Fakhar Zaman to bowl on a pitch with plenty of turn. Similarly, both teams also had multiple batsmen failing to fire - we’ve already mentioned those on LQ, and for KK they were Alex Hales, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Sherfane Rutherford. It might sound like an exaggeration, but it was literally just Babar Azam who made the difference. That and a little help from poor captaincy for Lahore..
How our predictions went
Obviously, the winner didn’t go our way, but we did manage to get the toss right. Babar Azam did wonders for his side, but Fakhar Zaman’s contribution was outdone by Tamim Iqbal’s. Mohammad Amir was a failure, but Harif Rauf managed to keep his end up - albeit tied with Dilbar Hossain. Azam was the only person with a fifty to his name, and although it was a close call for the boundaries, they were reversed. We have no less than three bilateral series coming up, so join us again when we review the matches between India and Australia, England and South Africa, and New Zealand and West Indies.