The stadium was buzzing with excitement, there were empty stands but for a weekday, this was more than a decent crowd. After all, Lahore Qalandars v Karachi Kings has always been the match of the tournament. There was dhol, loud chants and all that jazz.
Then there was Shahid Khan Afridi.
Lahore Qalandars have made a habit of scoring quick runs in the powerplay. They made 68 tonight despite losing their in-form opening batsman Sunil Narine in the first over. It looked like they’d finally register a win – it looked so achievable when Brendon McCullum was batting. Baz, for the first time in his PSL career scored in access of forty (44 off 30). But this just wasn’t enough; wickets kept falling at regular intervals once the powerplay ended. Shahid Afridi was introduced in the seventh over: on the fourth ball Fakhar Zaman threw his wicket away. Lala did his signature celebration, the Karachi Kings crowd erupted with joy. This man just doesn’t age, keeps entertaining like no other. In the next over, McCullum tried the reverse sweep just like Fakhar Zaman but missed the ball and was adjudged leg-before-wicket off Imad. The game was pretty much done and dusted once Baz was dismissed. Qalandars went from being 70 for 1 to all-out for 132. (At least there was improvement from last game). Afridi ended with figures of 3 for 19, which earned him the man of the match prize – his 30th in the T20 format.
Earlier, Lahore Qalandars restricted Karachi Kings to 117 for 7 in 16.4 overs. Afridi was the seventh wicket to fall; he hit Sohail Khan for a six and got out the ball after – we’ve witnessed this not for the first time and by no means the last. Ravi Bopara took the Lahore bowlers apart in the last three overs. Kings hammered 42 off 18 and Bopara reached his third PSL fifty by hitting a maximum on the last ball of the innings. Shaheen Afridi went for 39 in his 3 over spell.
Karachi lead Lahore by 4 wins to 1 after this match. Karachi for the first time have won three games in three and lead the points table, while Qalandars have lost three on the trot; they are (no prizes for guessing) last on the points table.