After a prolonged title drought in the first six seasons of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), the Qalandars managed to get their hands on the prestigious trophy in the seventh edition.
The Qalandars, led by Pakistan star pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi, beat 2021 champions Multan Sultans by 42 runs in Lahore to win the trophy.
However, the journey to success hasn't been an easy one for the Qalandars because the franchise, always a formidable opponent on paper, couldn't deliver in accordance with expectations until the PSL 8.
The fan-favorite team was so close to clinching the silverware in 2020, but Karachi Kings snatched it away from them after beating them by five wickets at the then National Stadium Karachi — now National Bank Cricket Arena.
Nevertheless, the Qalandars, with their love for the game, didn't give up, and their hard work paid off in the PSL 2022, and they beat the 2021 champions, Multan Sultans, to win the tournament.
As the famous saying goes, "batters win matches, but bowlers win tournaments", the Qalandars' success in the previous season was largely due to its bowling aided by some exceptional batting by Fakhar Zaman at the top of the order.
Likewise, bowling is the franchise's strength as their two pacers — Shaheen and Haris Rauf — can always be a threat to the opponent at any stage of the game.
Shaheen's skill with the new ball and Rauf's pace and variations in the death overs can topple any team's batting lineup.
The fiery and quick bowling is powered by the trickery and magic of Rashid Khan, who recently completed 500 T20 wickets, that too only at the age of 24.
The Afghanistan spinner has the best economy rate — 5.88 runs — in the league.
Meanwhile, the Qalandars have added another versatile player, Sikandar Raza, to their squad. The Zimbabwe all-rounder amassed 219 runs and claimed 10 wickets in the T20 World Cup 2022, where he properly announced himself to the world.
Firepower in the middle-order what the defending champions will miss in the upcoming season. England middle-order batter Harry Brook, who scored 264 runs for the Qalandars in the PSL 7, will miss the upcoming season.
Brook's absence will definitely have a massive impact on the Qalandars' batting performance, considering his record in the previous season.
Moreover, there is no experienced batter in the squad like Mohammad Hafeez, who was not picked by the franchise in the draft.
Hafeez was an integral part of the Qalandars' PSL triumph last season, as he was the side's second and the tournament's seventh-highest run-scorer, smashing 323 runs.
As mentioned earlier, a great and formidable team on paper, the Qalandars couldn't really take off and perform according to their team's calibre and reputation as they finished last in the league during the first four seasons.
However, in PSL 2020, the franchise had the opportunity to taste victory but lost to Karachi Kings in the mega event of the final.
Their top performance in the PSL 2021 nose-dived as the runners-up of the PSL 2020 finished in fifth place on the table.
Despite having several heartbreaks, Lahore Qalandars' hard work paid off as they clinched their maiden PSL title after beating the Mohammad Rizwan-led Multan Sultans in the final of the tournament last year.
Rashid Khan, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, David Wiese, Abdullah Shafique, Shane Dadswell, Kamran Ghulam, Zaman Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Hussain Talat, Sikandar Raza, Liam Dawson, Dilbar Hussain, Mirza Tahir Baig, Ahmed Danlyal, Shawaiz Irfan, Jordan Cox, Jalat Khan, Ahsan Bhatti, Sam Billings (partial replacement for Rashid Khan) and Kusal Mendis (partial replacement for Jordan Cox)
13 Feb: Lahore Qalandars vs Multan Sultans
19 Feb: Karachi Kings v Lahore Qalandars
21 Feb: Quetta Gladiators v Lahore Qalandars
26 Feb: Lahore Qalandars v Peshawar Zalmi
27 Feb: Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United
2 March: Lahore Qalandars v Quetta Gladiators
4 March: Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans
7 March: Peshawar Zalmi v Lahore Qalandars
9 March: Islamabad United v Lahore Qalandars
12 March: Lahore Qalandars v Karachi Kings
Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Kamran Ghulam, Hussain Talat, Sikandar Raza, Sam Billings (wk), Rashid Khan, David Wiese, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi (c), Zaman Khan
It must be noted that as per the criteria, playing XI must include a minimum of two and a maximum of four foreign players and one emerging category player.