Although many players throughout the competition can be pleased with their efforts even though their teams didn’t succeed, Lahore Qalandars became the first team to win back-to-back Pakistan Super League (PSL) championships.
Here are 3 players that rose to tremendous heights personally in this edition and may look back with pride on their own achievements.
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Shaheen’s extraordinary leadership and cricketing prowess made him the first captain to win the Pakistan Super League trophy twice.
Even more amazing is the fact that, at the youthful age of 22, he did it twice in one season to assist Lahore in becoming the first champion to successfully defend their title. He is basically shoving it in our faces that this is his world and we are only living in it by doing it while he has not yet been eliminated from the competition. The best left-arm bowler in cricket has essentially declared that he now considers himself to be an all-rounder since that is his universe.
He scored 44 runs off just 15 balls with the bat and took four wickets with the ball in the championship, so if anyone wants to disagree, they can. When it appeared that his team could struggle to reach 150, Shaheen’s ferocious knock helped them reach 200 before he recorded the best-ever statistics in a PSL final with the ball.
Rizwan succeeded in reaching the summit this time after placing second in the previous two iterations. The Multan captain will be extremely frustrated to see Lahore advance, after two final losses to the Qalandars prevented the right-hander from earning four consecutive PSL championships.
Since taking over as Multan Sultans captain, Rizwan has amassed 500 runs or more in each of the previous three PSL seasons. The accomplishment is placed in context by the fact that all other batsmen across eight editions combined have only succeeded in breaking that 500-run mark as often as Rizwan has done on his own in the most recent three editions.
Although he will forever regret holing out too far on against Rashid in the championship match when the game was still in reach, he can still be proud of himself.
Both as a batsman and captain, Rizwan was an inspiration as he led Multan to their third straight final.
The Pakistani captain tops the list of PSL run scorers by more than 500 runs, with 2,935 runs, more than 500 more than Fakhar Zaman, who is in second position with 2,368 runs.
However, it appeared that Babar had something to prove this time after being booted out of Karachi Kings and having his batting and leadership abilities criticized by his old teammates.
Babar outperformed the two players Karachi substituted for him, Shoaib Malik (200 runs) and Haider Ali (109 runs), by scoring 522 runs in the competition. Babar must have been especially happy that he did so at a higher strike rate than Malik, Haider, and Mathew Wade, the other platinum hitter in the King’s side, given that the Kings were ready to blame his sluggish batting for their bad results the previous year.
Even more pleasing would have been the significant contrast in results between the two teams, as Peshawar only lost to eventual champions Lahore in the second elimination round while Kings suffered their second consecutive group-stage loss.