PSL final: Karachi v Lahore, Babar v Shaheen set to enthral fans at NSK tonight

Zohaib Ahmed Majeed
Karachi Kings' Babar Azam and Lahore Qalandars' Shaheen Afridi are their sides' most valuable players.

Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars will fight it out for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 title at the National Stadium tonight. The venue has not seen a bigger match than this since Pakistan and India clashed there in an Asia Cup match on July 2, 2008.

Over the past 12 years, NSK has hosted eight ODIs, three Tests and two T20Is but neither has been even close to the one that will be played tonight between two domestic sides, and that, too, behind closed doors.

But such is the cultural, political and media rivalry between the two cities that their matches generate more interest than even some of the national team’s international assignments.

It won’t even matter tonight that the match gets played behind closed doors. It also won’t matter that outside the stadium thousands of commuters will be cursing the traffic jam, for the millions watching home … will be in millions.

Road to the final

By now everyone knows about Lahore’s path to the final. They had won just one of their opening five games and were rooted to the bottom yet again. At that point, their captain insisted that it was not over and was ridiculed for saying that. Days later, his prophesy came true as the Qalandars went on a crazy run, becoming THE form team of the tournament and finishing third on the table.

Karachi’s wins were a bit scattered and their results were devoid of any real pattern. They started the tournament with a win, then lost two, then won two and so on and so forth.

Head-to-head record

Considering Lahore's troubles over the years, it's not surprising at all that they have a losing record against Karachi.

Of their 10 meetings, Karachi have won six and Lahore four, with one of their four victories coming by the way of one-over eliminator so if that is taken out, it basically becomes 6-3 in Karachi's favour.

Read Geo Super’s complete head-to-head story here.

When they last met

In their last meeting, the Kings dominated pretty much from the start to finish, winning the toss, forcing Lahore - a decent chasing side - to bat first and then executing their plans to perfection.

Apart from getting a quick start, Lahore batters got nothing against the suffocating bowling of Karachi medium pacer. Their captain Sohail Akhtar's 68 and Mohammad Hafeez's 35 somehow got them to 150.

In reply, Karachi smashed everything Lahore bowlers hurled at them. Babar Azam got 69 off 46, Sharjeel 74 off 59 and neither got out. Karachi got to their target with almost three overs left.

Read the full tale of their last clash here.

Team News

Shaheen Afridi felt abdominal pain during Lahore’s last match and was off the field for a while. It is expected that he will be fit for the final, barring something unexpected.

Karachi have a clean bill of health but also have on their roster Cameron Delport, who did not play the Qualifier 1. He could be someone Karachi could bring in. Wayne Parnell, meanwhile, had a horrible game against Multan Sultans so he could be dropped in theory, although so far there is no indication of that.

Prediction

Karachi Kings have Babar Azam as well as the home advantage but then Lahore Qalandars have Shaheen Afridi as well as the form.

However, more Lahore players have had their moments over two games than Karachi’s have had in their only game. With that being the slight difference, we back Lahore Qalandars to get the job done tonight.

We've had our say. Your turn:

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Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars: PSL 2020 final match preview, Nov 17