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Former Proteas stars Rossouw, Tahir central in PSL final

Lahore Qalandars aim for the elusive Pakistani Super League title as they face off-form defending champion Multan Sultans in the final in Lahore on Sunday.

The Shaheen Shah Afridi-led Qalandars is the only team in the six-team league that has not won the league title since the start of the Twenty20 competition in 2016.

They lost to Karachi Kings in the only final they played in 2020.

But the task for Qalandars is tough as they face a raging Sultan side that has won nine of their ten first round matches.

Qalandars was the only side to beat them in the first round, but Sultans avenged that defeat by beating them by 28 runs in Wednesday’s qualifiers.

Shaheen, whose side defeated Islamabad United by six runs in a final-over thriller in Friday’s second eliminator, vowed his team will settle for nothing less than winning the trophy.

“After Friday night’s incredible win, we don’t want to settle for anything but the PSL trophy,” said Shaheen.

Sultans are inspired by Mohammad Rizwan, named Twenty20 International Player of 2021 by the International Cricket Council last month.

Rizwan hoped his team can repeat last year’s victory in the final in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s been a great tournament for us and I, as captain, couldn’t have asked for more from my players,” said Rizwan.

Both teams are powerful in both batting and bowling.

Qalandars have Fakhar Zaman as the opener who has scored a league record of 585 so far with a stroke rate of 154.35.

Rizwan is Sultan’s best go-getter with 532 runs, while his opening partner Shan Masood has 459.

Sultans also have power hitters in Western Australian Tim David and former South African Rilee Rossouw.

On their attack, Lahore was born to former South African Imran Tahir, Shahnawaz Dahani and Khushdil Shah, all of whom have 16 wickets in the tournament.

Shaheen spearheads Qalandars’ attack with 17 wickets, while newcomer slinger Zaman Khan (16) and Pakistani international Haris Rauf have 15 wickets.

Qalandars valiantly tried to get their top Afghan spinner Rashid Khan from Bangladesh on a chartered flight to play on Sunday, but gave up because logistics were a major problem.

Kings and Quetta Gladiators – both former champions – bowed out in the first round of this edition.

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