New PSL champions

19 Nov 2020

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THE Karachi Kings have emerged as the new Pakistan Super League heroes in the highly anticipated yet lopsided final at Karachi’s National Stadium on Tuesday. The Lahore Qalandars, though on a roll this fifth PSL season, could not sustain their act and went down by five wickets after posting just 134 on the board. A Karachi-Lahore PSL final was touted as the ‘battle of the Titans’. However, the prolific Babar Azam, currently ranked among the world’s top three batsmen, helped the Kings romp home to victory with a brilliant 63 off just 49 balls. His sublime form in the League matches this year earned him the Player of the Final and Player of the Series awards. PSL V showed a clear change in trend this year as no past title holder including the Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United could make it to the final. The Lahore Qalandars, after their last spot in all previous PSL editions, had become synonymous with defeat. However, they turned things around this season under the lesser-known captain Sohail Akhtar to reach the final.

Earlier this year, PSL matches were suspended. The remaining games began after a gap of almost eight months. However, the excitement of fans remained intact while prominent media coverage ensured a huge viewership across the country. The appearance of 21 foreign players in the four remaining games was the icing on the cake. Thankfully, the PSL has now begun to produce promising batting stars — apart from fast bowlers — which is a boost to the national team. For the past many decades, batting has been the Achilles heel of Pakistan cricket, and experts including former cricketers believe that T20 leagues have only spoiled the techniques of batsmen due to the breakneck pace of scoring required. However, the emergence of fine batsmen like Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Zeeshan Ashraf and a few others have strengthened the batting department, besides providing an expanded pool of players to select from for Pakistan’s challenging assignments ahead.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2020