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LAHORE: All is set for the HBL-PSL-7 final between Mohammad Rizwan-led defending champions Multan Sultans and Shaheen Shah Afridi-led Lahore Qalandars here at the Gadaffi Stadium today.

This will be the second HBL PSL final to be staged in Lahore, the 2017 final was won by Peshawar Zalmi in the first-ever HBL PSL match staged in Pakistan. To date, 33 of 34 matches in one of the most challenging and competitive leagues have been played in Pakistan, which is only the second time since the inception of this tournament in 2016.

Sultans and Qalandars have richly entertained the fans in Karachi and Lahore with top quality T-20 cricket. To date, Sultans have won 10 out of 11 matches, while Qalandars have won seven out of 12 matches this year. On a head-to-head in this tournament, Sultans lead Qalandars 2-1.

Sultans have played like champions from the beginning of the HBL PSL 7 in Karachi a month ago. They created an HBL PSL record by winning nine out of their 10 round matches and are in red-hot form heading into the final. Sultans reached their second successive final with a 28-run win over Qalandars in the Qualifier on Wednesday, while Qalandars reached their second final in three years after a thrilling victory against Islamabad United on Friday evening, which undoubtedly has warmed the hearts of their huge Lahore fan base.

Both the two captains want their sides to enjoy the momentous occasion on Sunday and play fearless cricket, a formula that has done wonders for both in the HBL PSL 7.

Multan Sultans captain Mohammad Rizwan said, “It has been an amazing tournament for us and I as a captain could not have asked more from my players. Heading into the tournament as defending champions could have added extra pressure on us but I am delighted that the players and our management have succeeded in maintaining our high standards. Lahore Qalandars have played good cricket throughout the HBL PSL 7 and I am sure they will have great support on Sunday.”

Rizwan further said the Lahore crowd has been amazing and I am sure we will also have our supporters at the venue. Last year we won in front of an empty stadium in Abu Dhabi due to Covid restrictions so the opportunity of lifting the trophy in front of a packed Gaddafi Stadium by the grace of Almighty Allah is amazing and our entire squad is fully motivated to deliver.

Lahore Qalandars captain Shaheen Shah Afridi said, “After Friday’s night’s incredible win we want to settle for nothing but the HBL PSL trophy. The last month and a bit has been a memorable journey. After our success in Karachi we have succeeded in raising the level of our game further backed by the passionate Lahore crowd. The joy of playing in front of a packed home crowd and winning is second to none.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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