Sohail Akhtar blames ill-conceived batting approach for PSL final heartbreak
Lahore Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar has lamented his team's reckless strokeplay in the PSL 2020 final against Karachi Kings, admitting that his side was "10-15 runs short" of a competitive total.
After winning the toss, Qalandars elected to bat first but the batters found it tough to hit the big shots on the sluggish National Stadium pitch.
Tamim Iqbal and Fakhar Zaman combined to add 68 runs for the first wicket but the proceeding batsmen failed to adapt to the conditions and perished cheaply as Lahore scrambled to 134-7 in their 20 overs.
Lahore's patchy effort with the bat was epitomised by Tamim's struggle in the middle as the veteran southpaw made a 38-ball 35. Tamim had just started to show signs of aggression towards the end of his stay before he departed to an ill-timed slog off Umaid Asif.
All seven batsmen to fall for the Qalandars were dismissed trying to go for an ambitious swipe, only managing to play it into the hands of the fielders.
"Considering the big match, our plan was to bat first and set a target upfront but the wicket played out totally different to what we were expecting," Akhtar assessed his team's performance following the five-wicket defeat.
"The ball was not coming easily onto the bat and was staying low. I believe we were 10-15 runs short... if we had gotten to 150-155, it would have been a different result."
"One of the top-order players should have taken the responsibility to see the team to a good score," he asserted. "Credit goes to the Karachi Kings bowlers for maintaining tight lines. I think the idea of going for big shots was poor since it was difficult to hit and the batsmen who were set, they should have finished the innings well for the team."
In contrast to the Qalandars' dwindling batting fortunes, Karachi's chase was superbly anchored by Babar Azam, who finished with an unbeaten 63.
Akhtar also talked about his substandard scores in the playoffs and conceded he lacked the requisite form to rescue his team. Nevertheless, he seemed "satisfied" at his performances in the league stages of the tournament with the highest score of 68 not out.
"I was unable to deliver the way I wanted to. But if you look at my performances in the league stages, I am satisfied with how I fared. Unluckily, I did not do well in the playoffs but next time, I will come better prepared and the team will hopefully see a better result," he said.
Meanwhile, Akhtar showered praise on the Qalandars' think-tank for their successful Player Development Program (PDP). The 34-year-old claimed this initiative has been beneficial in unearthing future T20 stars and polishing the skills of the likes of Dilbar Hussain and Haris Rauf.
"The main focus of the Qalandars management is to give experience to the players discovered in the PDP and we kept them with the team.
"I am expecting more players to try out for the PDP for the next season. Even now, there are some budding talents we are working on in the PDP and we receive a huge response in these scouting schemes."