The knockout phase of Pakistan Super League 2023 has been initiated. There has been great excitement among fans due to the domestic T20 competition. Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans are the teams of the first two positions. Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore was hosting the contest. Multan Sultans wanted to take full revenge for the group-stage games in PSL 2023 Playoff 1.
The best thing about this contest was the great combination of both sides. Furthermore, these two teams truly demonstrate the first two positions of the Pakistan Super League. What a great team combination both these teams have. We expect this game to be a cracker.
The playoff between Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans was played on March 15, 2023. Multan Sultans was batting first against the fine bowling attack of Lahore Qalandars. If we talk about the best bowling attack of PSL 08, Lahore Qalandars might be on the top surely. There is a great combination in the bowling side of Lahore Qalandars undoubtedly. The side truly represents the essence of the Pakistan fast bowling attack which comprises Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf.
The stage was all set for the huge contest of PSL 2023 Playoff 1. Multan Sultans vs Lahore Qalandars was anticipated to be a classic. Usman Khan and Mohammad Rizwan were walking out to the crease. Both players are capable of scoring a fine amount of runs with a wonderful strike rate on the board. They play amazingly on the crease. However, they were up against the bigger challenge ahead. Surely, the openers were facing the best bowling attack of the Pakistan Super League.
PSL 2023 Playoff 1: First Innings
It is one of the hectic tasks to face Shaheen Khan Afridi for the first over. He is a player who swings the ball both ways amazingly to trouble the opposition. He has a tremendous amount of skillset in his cricketing textbook to trouble any opposition. Rizwan vs Shaheen Afridi surely had lots of eyes on this contest. Rizwan is a player who likes to dominate the opposition with his spectacular shots in the powerplay overs. He took a wonderful start again Afridi undoubtedly after smashing him for two boundaries.
The momentum kept on going for Multan Sultans in the PSL 2023 Playoff 1 with Rizwan smashing another boundary in the over of Shaheen Afridi. Lahore Qalandars was facing some kind of pressure in the contest. The best thing about the opening attack of Lahore Qalandars is that it takes quick wickets at the start. With Rizwan batting well in the powerplay overs, it was looking really difficult.
Usman Khan undoubtedly took an amazing charge against the bowler of Lahore Qalandars. He hit terrific boundaries against the frontline pacer of Lahore Qalandars Zaman Khan. Zaman is not an easy customer in T20 cricket. With the kind of start which Multan Sultans took vs Lahore Qalandars in PSL 2023 Playoff 1, Lahore Qalandars surely pressed a panic button. Three boundaries by Usman Khan were surely a treat to watch.
The Wonderful Powerplay
It is a difficult task to play the bowlers of Lahore Qalandars well in the powerplay overs. Usman Khan dominated the game vs Lahore Qalandars at their home ground. At the end of 6 overs, Multan Sultans posted a total of 46 runs on the board. Rizwan was enjoying the backseat. Usman was dominating the bowlers of Lahore Qalandars.
The pitch was on the slower side. It was supporting the bowlers. Multan Sultans just needed to not lose the plot in PSL Playoff 1. Continuous runs with losing no wickets could really fire for Multan Sultans.
Haris Rauf is an express pacer. He bowls with a tremendous pace to put pressure on the opposition. While Usman Khan was on the verge of scoring a spectacular fifty, Haris Rauf took his wicket. It was a spectacular wicket keeping in perspective the context of the game.
This was the best time for Zaman Khan to come into the attack. Zaman Khan is one of the best emerging fast bowlers in the circuit. He bowls with amazing varieties to take the wickets of the opposition.
The pitch was on the slower side. Rilee Rossouw is a dangerous batsman. He took his wicket amazingly. Lahore Qalandars was shining in the PSL Playoff 1 contest. With Rilee Rossouw returning early to the pavilion, it was Lahore Qalandars who was enjoying the ride on the ground.
The Partnership between Pollard and Rizwan in PSL 2023 Playoff 1
Multan Sultans now opted for Kieron Pollard to come up with the order in PSL 2023 Playoff 1. If we talk about the best hitters in the T20 cricket circuit, the name Pollard might be at the top. He is a cricketer who smashes the ball all around the park irrespective of the skillset of the bowler. While the pitch was favoring the bowlers, Pollard needed to remain steady on the crease. Rizwan on the other end did not throw his wicket.
He was adding vital runs for Multan Sultans against the bowling attack of Lahore Qalandars. Both batsmen opted to not take any risk considering the conditions of Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Multan did not really require a huge total to win the contest. Just a total of 170 would be enough to win the game vs this bowling attack of Lahore Qalandars.
In the over of Rashid Khan, Rizwan could not score the runs against the classic leg-spinner. The batsman could not add runs against the greatest batsman of modern-era cricket. Rashid is a phenomenal bowler. He proved it after taking the wicket of Rizwan on the biggest occasion. Rizwan returned to the pavilion after scoring 33 runs vs Lahore Qalandars in PSL 2023 Playoff 1.
The Overs of David Wiese and Rashid Khan
The pitch provided full support to the bowlers. David Wiese is a player who bowls amazing slower ones to take the wickets of the opposition. Only taking the wickets of the opposition is not significant in T20 cricket, but bowling the dot balls is an important job. Wiese and Rashid were performing that job brilliantly in PSL 2023.
While Lahore Qalandars was bowling terrifically to contain the score vs Multan Sultans in PSL 2023, Multan was not losing the wickets. With Kieron Pollard, Tim David was also batting on the crease who is one of the finest players in the death overs. David is a player who smashes the ball all around the park amazingly.
In the over of Rashid Khan, both batsmen failed to make any huge impact. The best thing about playing well the overs of Rashid Khan is that you have wickets. This exactly looked like the plan of Multan Sultans vs Lahore Qalandars in PSL 2023 Playoff 1.
The Death-Over of Zaman Khan in PSL 2023 Playoff 1
Zaman Khan is one of the dangerous bowlers during the death overs. He bowls amazingly against the best batsmen to put pressure on the opposition. Tim David is a phenomenal batter. Lahore Qalandars required his wicket. This is the time David decided to take the charge vs Lahore Qalandars in the knockout game.
He smashed Zaman Khan for two boundaries to demonstrate his command on the crease. Those were some great shots by David that created panic in the Lahore Qalandars dugout. Multan Sultans was on the way to scoring a fine total for Lahore Qalandars.
Shaheen Khan Afridi and Haris Rauf Overs
Shaheen Khan Afridi and Haris Rauf are the premium pacers during the death overs in T20 cricket. Both these players bowl wonderful yorkers during the last overs to contain the total. In the over of Afridi, Kieron Pollard hit him for a spectacular six. The spectacular shot by Kieron Pollard took the total of Multan Sultans towards 121 runs on the board.
While Afridi and Haris are great bowlers during the final overs, the six really put the pressure on Lahore Qalandars. The side needed the wicket of Kieron Pollard quickly to come back in the contest. Now the skipper Shaheen Afridi gave the ball to Haris Rauf to get the important wicket of Pollard in the game. Haris Rauf was able to bowl well on the first three initial deliveries. However, Kieron Pollard smashed Haris for two boundaries consecutively afterward. The boundaries made the position of Multan Sultans really strong on the ground in PSL Playoff 1.
Now Afridi came to bowl vs Kieron Pollard to take revenge for the earlier six. Now the wicket of Kieron Pollard at this point means Lahore Qalandars is back in the death overs. Shaheen Afridi really needed to take this wicket to bring back Lahore Qalandars into the game. However, Pollard is one of the most dangerous T20 hitters for a reason. He hit three sixes against Shaheen Afridi in his penultimate over to provide the advantage to Multan Sultans. What a phenomenal kind of hitting by Kieron Pollard.
Fine Total for Lahore Qalandars in PSL Playoff 1
While Lahore Qalandars frontline pacer Haris Rauf bowled brilliantly during the last over, Multan Sultans was able to score 160 runs on the board on such a fine bowling track.
Lahore Qalandars has a fragile batting side. Such kind of total means Multan Sultans has a huge advantage in the game. What a spectacular performance. Courtesy to the Kieron Pollard masterclass in the death overs.
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PSL 2023 Playoff 2: Seconds Innings
This was a huge task for the batting of Lahore Qalandars to chase 160 runs in the second innings. There is no doubt that Lahore Qalandars has a vulnerable batting side. To win the contest, Fakhar Zaman needed to bat composedly on the crease to win the game for his team. He is a really dangerous cricketer in the powerplay overs. For Multan Sultans, the key was to take the wickets of Lahore Qalandars’ opening batsmen early.
If Multan Sultans is able to take the wicket of Fakhar Zaman early in the second innings of PSL Playoff 2, it means the game is set for the visiting side. Fakhar Zaman and Tahir Baig were opening the innings vs Sheldon Cotrell in the contest. The Caribbean fast bowler is a dangerous bowler undoubtedly. Furthermore, he is a player who could take quick wickets in the powerplay overs with his varieties.
He did not let the batsmen of Lahore Qalandars score any runs in the first over. It was a masterclass bowling display from Cottrell. In the second over of Cottrell, he took the wicket of Tahir Baig and sent the batsman towards the pavilion. It was a huge wicket. An early wicket in the T20 contest always puts huge pressure on the opposition.
Abdullah Shafique Returns to the Pavilion in PSL Playoff 1
Abdullah Shafique is the main pillar of the Lahore Qalandars side in the Pakistan Super League. He is a proper textbook cricketer who smashes the ball amazingly well all around the park. It was expected Abdullah to fire in the second innings of PSL 2023 Playoff 2. Due to the phenomenal delivery of Sheldon Cottrell, Abdullah Shafique was trapped early in the innings.
He just could not add any runs to the board for Lahore Qalandars. There was extreme panic in the dugout of Lahore Qalandars. Without making any score, Abdullah Shafique returned to the pavilion. Fakhar Zaman needed to step up on this occasion. There is no doubt that he is a great cricketer.
Whenever Fakhar Zaman fires for Lahore Qalandars during the powerplay overs, the side often wins the game due to his impactful innings with a wonderful strike rate. He needed to step up on this occasion. However, Anwar Ali was geared up to take the most important wicket of the PSL 2023 Playoff 1 contest. The wicket of Fakhar Zaman was really important.
The Collapse in PSL Playoff 1
Anwar Ali dismissed Fakhar Zaman early in the innings. He could not make any significant contribution and Anwar Ali bowled Zaman with a spectacular leg-cutter. It was turning out to be a horrible outing for Lahore Qalandars in PSL Playoff 1. At one position during the bowling innings, Lahore Qalandars was dominating the contest. However, the comeback by Multan Sultans afterward was really taking Lahore Qalandars out of the game.
Shaheen Khan Afridi came to bat up the order in PSL Playoff 1. In the nets, he trains well in the batting department to provide contributions with his batting. This was a great risk with him coming up the order if we consider the knockout stage of the game.
Could this risk fire for Lahore Qalandars? In the over of Sheldon Cottrell, Shaheen Afridi lost his wicket. Without making a significant contribution in the PSL 08 knockout contest vs Multan Sultans, Shaheen Afridi returned to the pavilion. Lahore Qalandars was nowhere in the game. Courtesy of the masterclass bowling display of Sheldon Cottrell in the PSL Playoff 1.
Billings and Hussain Tallat Partnership
Lahore Qalandars was almost out of the game. Hussain Tallat and Sam Billings needed to put on a really big partnership to win the game for Lahore Qalandars. This was really a huge task. Multan Sultans was completely enjoying the ride vs Lahore Qalandars in the PSL 08 knockout contest. They were not scoring any boundaries. The bowlers of Multan Sultans were bowling brilliantly and not giving any chance to the batsmen of Lahore Qalandars.
Hussain Tallat needed to bat amazingly well to win the contest vs Multan Sultans in the PSL Playoff 1. A really huge inning was required from him. However, the over of Kieron Pollard brought the wicket for Multan Sultans. Even Tallat could not provide a great contribution on the crease with his batting display. The fielder Usman Khan ran him out in the most important contest of PSL 08 thus far. Now Sikandar Raza arrived on the crease who is the most important part of the Lahore Qalandars batting in PSL 08.
Sikander Raza Returns To The Pavilion
Sikander Raza could not play an astonishing inning similar to the innings he played vs Quetta Gladiators. Kieron Pollard took the wicket of Sikander Raza in the same over the wicket of Hussain Tallat was gone.
It was such a horrible outing for Lahore Qalandars considering the context of such a huge game. After scoring just 1 run on the board, Sikander Raza returned to the pavilion.
Lahore Qalandars lost six wickets in the contest vs Multan Sultans in PSL 08 on the score of 44 runs. With such a bad start early in the innings, Multan Sultans was expected to win the contest. Mohammad Rizwan gave the ball to Ihsanullah who is the most successful bowler of Pakistan Super League edition 8.
He has a wonderful command of his spectacular bowling skillset. He took the most important wicket of Sam Billings to almost celebrate the inclusion of Multan Sultans in the final of PSL 08. With such a wonderful team effort in the PSL Playoff 1, Multan Sultans was on the way to the final.
In the next over, Multan Sultans brought Usama Mir to the attack who has proved to be one of the great spinners. He took the wicket of Rashid Khan. Now David Wiese was batting on the crease. David Wiese might be the greatest foreign player in Pakistan Super League, but the situation was really difficult to win the contest.
Multan Sultans Wins the PSL Playoff 1
When David Wiese arrived at the crease, he hit a boundary to demonstrate his command of the crease. In the next over, Haris Rauf hit two boundaries on two consecutive deliveries to prove that he has batted better than most of the Lahore Qalandars batters. He hit three boundaries in total against the best bowler of Multan Sultans, who is Ihsanullah. David Wiese hit a spectacular six vs Usama Mir amazingly at the start of the over. But Usama Mir trapped him amazingly on LBW afterward. Lahore Qalandars lost 9 wickets on 76 runs in the PSL Playoff 1.
With one wicket remaining, Multan Sultans was all set to celebrate the win vs Lahore Qalandars. The side was going to play the 3rd final in Pakistan Super League overall. This team is such a great unit in Pakistan Super League. Abbas Afridi took the final wicket of Haris Rauf and Multan Sultans celebrated the victory vs Lahore Qalandars. The cricket experts did not expect such a bad performance.
While Multan Sultans has found the spot in the final, Lahore Qalandars has one more chance of qualifying for the final. There were happy scenes all around for the Multan Sultans side. The home side fans were not really happy with the display of Lahore Qalandars side. Multan Sultans defeated Lahore Qalandars by 84 runs in the PSL Playoff 1. Such a huge win it was.
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