The eighth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) will see Lahore Qalandars host Multan Sultans in the qualifiers, the winner of which will be directly on 19 March, marquee final at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Alabi News takes a look at what will matter when the 2022 champions led by Shaheen Shah Afridi take on the 2022 runners-up and the 2021 HBL PSL champions, captained by batsman Mohammad Rizwan.
Lahore Qalandars started their HBL PSL campaign without a strong presence in their program and ended in consecutive last places in the first two editions. However, their belief in their talent show, which ran throughout the year, helped them find future stars.
Meanwhile, under the strong leadership of Shaheen, Lahore is the team to beat when it comes to HBL PSL, and they got 14 points out of 20 offered to prove it, out of 10 sports league. Winning seven and losing three, two of them against arch-rivals Karachi Kings, has put Lahore on the cusp of defending their title this year, something that has yet to happen. another team can do it.
However, we have seen a sharp drop off several times during the playoffs, with Lahore losing two of their last three group games, seemingly out of contention as they advance to the playoff stage.
And the biggest obstacle in the way of Lahore to protect their crown is the submission of the most enduring Multan Sultans. They ensured that they finished in second place, collected the chance to qualify for the final and put Lahore on a long road if they want to lift the revived HBL PSL Cup for the eighth season.
Multan are newcomers to the HBL PSL as the league started with just five teams. They may not be able to match the experience of other franchises, but the measure of success of any team is better by reaching the final in two editions. last.
Led by Rizwan, Multan scored 12 points, equal to Islamabad United but has a better record, from the competition of the league, winning six and losing four. Their experience in qualifying and then playing big games will give them an advantage over Lahore when the day of qualification comes.
Head to head
The simple fact is that Multan did their worst against Lahore, compared to other opponents in the HBL PSL.
In their last five meetings, Multan have lost four times, showing their weakness against the Lahore side. In the 2022 edition, it was Multan’s most successful campaign in which they won nine of their 10 games in the group competition, Rizwan and with Lahore three times, losing twice to them.
In the ongoing season, Multan have not been able to overcome the challenge of Lahore so far. But the playoffs offer something different and it may come down to who has the better cricket on the day.
Interestingly, in their last five encounters, the team defending the total wins every time when Multan faces Lahore.
In the first group match of 2022, Lahore won by 52 matches, while Multan won the other group match by 28 matches. The end of the 2022 edition saw Multan miss the mark by 42 runs, handing Lahore their first ever HBL PSL title.
This year too, Qalandars have beaten Multan twice by giving up the total and then defending it in their world class play, which includes captain Shaheen, pacers Haris Rauf and Zaman Khan and ace Afghan spinner Rashid Khan.
Considering the matches that took place in Lahore during the league, the score can again play an important role in deciding who will go straight to the final. Winning the toss is definitely the first strike and defends a goal.
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