KARACHI-Lahore Qalandars on Sunday thumped Multan Sultans by 25 runs to reach Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 final, where they will face Karachi Kings tomorrow (Tuesday) here at National Stadium. 

Qalandars were 111-5 in the 15th over when Wiese (48no off 21) joined Samit Patel (26 off 16) at the crease but the duo hit 10 boundaries between them in a rapid sixth-wicket stand of 59 in 32 balls as Qalandars posted 182-6, with Sultans seamers Junaid Khan and Sohail Tanvir taken apart. Junaid’s 19th over went for 20 as Wiese struck him for four consecutive boundaries, while Tanvir’s 20th went for 18, with Wiese launching the final two balls for six after Patel had been caught at cover.

Yorkshire batsman Lyth - drafted in as an overseas replacement for the knockout stages by Sultans - hit three sixes and four fours from the top of the order to help his side to 80-1 in the ninth over of the run chase, during which time Qalandars quick Shaheen Afridi temporarily left the field injured. But Wiese (3-27) had Lyth caught in the deep to stall the innings and then accounted for Ravi Bopara (1) and Tanvir (3) and caught fellow South African Rilee Rossouw (18) brilliantly on the boundary amid Sultans losing five wickets for 20 runs from 102-2, with Shahid Afridi bowled for a golden duck by Haris Rauf (3-30).

Khushdil Shah (30 off 19) - reprieved by a Dilbar Hussain no-ball after being caught at square on nine - kept Sultans alive but when he was pouched in the deep off Shaheen in the penultimate over with 28 runs still required, their hopes ended and they were bowled out for 157 in 19.1 overs. Qalandars, who finished bottom of the table in the first four editions of the PSL, reached their first final as Sultans missed out on theirs.

Whatever happens on Tuesday, there will be a fresh champion with the three previous winners - Islamabad United (2016 and 2018), Quetta Gladiators (2019) and Peshawar Zalmi (2017) - already eliminated. Regular-season table toppers Sultans spurned two opportunities to reach the final, going down to Karachi after a Super Over in Saturday’s qualifier and then falling short against Qalandars, who had beaten Zalmi by five wickets in Saturday’s first eliminator.

Sultans were in a strong position 15 overs into the Qalandars innings having pegged back their opponents from an electric start of 42-0 after four overs given to them by Tamim Iqbal (30 off 20) and Fakhar Zaman (46 off 36). Shahid Afridi (2-18) led the fightback with his wickets including Mohammad Hafeez (19), who had struck an unbeaten 74 from 46 balls against Zalmi.

Hafeez was dropped off Afridi on 12 and 13 but the veteran got his man when Lyth pouched at long-off with the score on 94 at the end of the 12th over, ending Hafeez’s stand of 40 with Fakhar for the third wicket. Lyth went on to dismiss Fakhar with his part-time spin and when Afridi bowled Dunk, Sultans seemed in complete control - only for Qalandars to smoke 67 from the final five overs. Lyth quickly wrestled back momentum for Sultans, aided by being dropped on 35 by Fakhar and 44 by Patel, but his dismissal proved crucial as Qalandars set up a meeting with Karachi.

Qalandars pace sensation Haris Rauf added another feather to his cap when he completed a half-century of T20 wickets in the ongoing calendar year which made him the leading T20 wicket-taker of 2020. Rauf bowled out former skipper Shahid Afridi to claim his third wicket in the PSL Eliminator 2 against Multan Sultans to complete his 50th wicket. Haris now has 50 T20 wickets from 31 games. 

Rauf is now the fourth Pakistani to take 50 or more wickets in a calendar year. Last year, Wahab Riaz had got 60 T20 wickets, while in 2012 Sohail Tanvir had taken 55, and Yasir Arafat had taken 52 wickets.