Babar Azam underlined his quality with a Player of the Match display to lead Karachi Kings to a five-wicket win over Lahore Qalandars in the final of the Pakistani Super League in Karachi on Tuesday night.
Opening the batting for Karachi Kings, Babar scored an unbeaten 63no from 49 balls, including scoring seven boundaries, as his side chased down Lahore Qalandars’s total of 7-134.
Haris Rauf (2-30) and Dilbar Hussain (2-28) did their best with the ball for Lahore but it was in vain, after their side managed a below-par total.
Opening pair Tamim Iqbal (35 from 38) and Fakhar Zaman (27 from 24) top scored for Lahore, but their 68-run stand came from 61 balls and they were never able to lift the run rate drastically.
Karachi trio Waqas Maqsood (2-18), Umaif Asif (2-18) and Arshad Iqbal (2-26) were all outstanding in restricting Lahore’s total, before Babar’s cool hand with the bat, with West Indian Chadwick Walton providing steady support with 22 in a 61-run third wicket partnership after Sharjeel Khan and Alex Hales departed cheaply.
“I just needed to remain cool,” Pakistan national team captain Babar said.
“The team was depending on me and I needed not to panic. The wicket was slow and I wasn’t feeling the ball on the bat very well.
“I feel the calmer you are, the better you perform. I just knew I had to be there at the finish, and in the end we chased it with ease.”
Karachi got to the target with eight balls to spare while Babar was named Player of the Series and best batsman.
Kings coach Imad Wasim praised the 26-year-old right-handed batsman for his leading role.
“We knew if Babar put on a masterclass we could effectively put our feet up in the chase,” Imad said.
“Generally, when I bowl the first over, I can get a read of the wicket. Arshad Iqbal was an emerging cricketer but he played a crucial role for us today. If the fans had been around, it would have made it even sweeter.”