Babar Azam steers Karachi Kings to first Pakistan Super League title with win over Lahore Qalandars

Babar Azam led the way with a supreme 63 not out from 49 balls as Karachi Kings won their maiden Pakistan Super League title after beating fellow first-time finalists Lahore Qalandars by five wickets.

Babar took his tally of runs for the season to 473 – a record for a single edition of the PSL, beating the 435 Luke Ronchi managed for Islamabad United in 2018 – as Karachi chased down their target of 135 in 18.4 overs.

Interim Karachi coach Wasim Akram dedicated the win to former head coach Dean Jones, who passed away at the age of 59 in September following a heart attack.

Finally, the CHAMPIONS of #HBLPSLV πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ»
What a match, what a journey!!
Thank you so much guys for your love & support throughout this entire journey… 😍
And, Deano this one is for you!!! πŸ™πŸ»#KarachiKings #YehHaiKarachi #PhirSeTayyarHain #KKvLQ #PSLFinal #DoItForDeano

Babar’s fifth fifty of the campaign, which came from 40 balls, was sealed during a third-wicket stand of 61 with Chadwick Walton (22) after Alex Hales was dismissed for 11.

Karachi encountered a wobble with 11 runs required when Haris Rauf dismissed Iftikhar Ahmed and Sherfane Rutherford from successive deliveries in the 18th over – but captain Imad Wasim (9no) eased the pressure with a boundary and then sealed victory with another four.

Babar was the star man, though, striking seven fours, including some trademark coruscating cover drives, in a typically classy knock but also picked the gaps superbly and ran briskly between the wickets in his sixth fifty-plus score in a row for club and country.

Qalandars made a bright start after electing to bat in the final, reaching 68-0 after 10 overs through Tamim Iqbal (35) and Fakhar Zaman (27), only to then lose three wickets for two runs in seven balls before limping to an under-par total, with Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel making just five.

Lahore were looking to complete the ultimate turnaround having finished bottom of the PSL in each of the first four editions but had to settle for second place as Karachi became the fourth different side to win the trophy.

I see Babar Azam is batting on a different pitch to everyone else …. Class !!

Kings have followed in the footsteps of Islamabad (2016 and 2018), Peshawar Zalmi (2017) and Quetta Gladiators (2019) by winning the title.

Karachi – who lost in the play-offs in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – began their fightback in the final when seamer Umaid Asif had Tamim and Fakhar caught in the deep in the 11th over, the seamer celebrating both wickets by lifting his Karachi jersey to reveal an Iron Man shirt underneath.

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Mohammad Hafeez (2) skied Imad to mid-off in the 12th to make it 70-3 and that became 118-7 by the penultimate ball of the 19th over with Patel one of those to fall as Waqas Maqsood and Arshad Iqbal matched fellow seamer Asif in claiming two wickets.

Shaheen Shah Afridi hit a six and a four off Mohammad Amir in a 15-run final over to give Lahore some momentum but that quickly switched back Karachi’s way as Babar and Shajreel Khan (13) took 20 across the first two overs of the chase, bowled by Shaheen and Rauf.

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Sharjeel hoicked former England man Patel’s first delivery to Fakhar at deep midwicket in the fourth over, while Hales was bowled through the gate by a superb delivery from Dilbar Hussain in the seventh.

Babar and Walton kicked the innings on from 49-2 before West Indian Walton was pinned lbw by a Dilbar yorker after missing with his attempted leg-side flick with 25 needed from 30 balls.

Rauf then kept Qalandars in the game by having Iftikhar (4) and Rutherford (0) caught at mid-on but Imad’s brace of boundaries meant it was Karachi who took the title, with Akram then quick to praise the hard work of late coach Jones for making their success possible.

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