For the first time, one of the greatest rivalries in the short history of Pakistan Super League (PSL) is expected to grace the final as Karachi Kings take on the mighty Lahore Qalandars in the country’s prestigious T20 tournament summit clash. The champion will be born on the PSL 2020 final at the National Stadium in Karachi by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
This year’s edition is expected to close with a blockbuster Karachi-Lahore final that few cricketing minds might have foreseen, a tournament that has grown in stature over the past half-decade. It took an enormous effort on behalf of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the PSL management to set up the entire PSL V in Pakistan to make this happen. Earlier in the year before the coronavirus-enforced break came to a screeching standstill, PSL 2020 was playing along at an incredible pace.
However the organizers were concerned about staging the remaining matches in an appropriate time, and in mid-November, they managed to find and finalize one. Therefore, PSL has barged back onto the scene in an enthralling manner since 14 November. After three intense contests, the Lahore and Karachi teams will look forward to challenging the greatest game of the season.
In general, the Karachi Kings had an advantage over the Lahore Qalandars. Earlier this year the two teams last met in Karachi’s National Stadium when the home side trampled all over the Qalandars and embarrassed them with 10 wickets. Even in the group stage, Ben Dunk innings where he wreaked ruin on the Karachi Kings favour of a blow 99* that spurred life into the campaign of Lahore Qalandars.
They have in the wings the likes of Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, one of whom leads the PSL 2020 bowling charts, while the other is this year’s top wicket-taker in all forms of T20 Cricket.
This season, David Wiese has been at the core of the successes of Lahore Qalandars, and his all-round talent is beneficial to their success. Mohammad Hafeez played a sensational inning against Peshawar Zalmi. At the same time, Tamim Iqbal and Fakhar Zaman’s left-handed opening pair have good runs under their areas and can be upset in the finale, much to the fears of the Kings.
Overall, a stable combination has been stringed together by Lahore Qalandars and can overtake Karachi Kings based on the momentum they have built up. They are very likely to keep the same XI for the final match.
On the other side, Karachi Kings squeezed past the table-toppers of the group stage, Multan Sultans, to seal a place in the PSL 2020 final. Before slumping to despair and finally hanging on to dear life and making it through, they cruised for a large part of their innings through the run-chase.
Unlike the Qalandars, since the resumption, the home side has played one less game and will have to pull out its A-game against a red-hot opponent.
The deciding match against Lahore Qalandars gives them the chance to snatch the league title and contribute it to their late head coach, Dean Jones. In the Kings’ camp, emotions are running high following the death of Dean Jones just two months ago. The players and management are highly desperate to win him the 2020 PSL.
Karachi has two outstanding cricketers at the top of the order like Alex Hales and Babar Azam. With a total of 1179 runs, Babar Azam is not only the leading run-scorer in PSL 2020 but also the most productive T20 batsman this year.
After stopping the Multan Sultans away in the Super Over, Mohammad Amir made headlines in the Qualifier. Sharjeel Khan is also in the mix to provide surprises at the start of the innings.
The bowling attack of Karachi responded effectively against the Sultans, but against an in-form Lahore Qalandars line-up, it would be an entirely different challenge. A toss-up between momentum and home advantage might be the key to win the finale.
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