In a nutshell
In a wildly oscillating game that frequently blurred the lines between victory and defeat, Lahore Qalandars prevailed over Karachi Kings in the Super Over. After Lahore had made 11 in the Super Over, Karachi were halted in their tracks by Sunil Narine
, who unleashed his full complement of tricks. Conceding only two runs off the first five balls, which included the wicket of Colin Ingram, Narine all but ensured Karachi didn't provide one last twist in an encounter that wouldn't pause for a moment of calm.
Earlier in the night, Lahore experienced the full spectrum of emotions - they came within shouting distance of wrapping up the game, but then thought they stuffed it only to eventually tie the game. Needing 16 to win off the last over, Sohail Akhtar
turned up and dialled up the adrenaline with a sequence of 2, 4 and 6 off Usman Khan.
With four runs needed off three deliveries, Mitchell McClenaghan ran himself out in pursuit of a bye. With the equation eventually narrowing down to three off one, Akhtar hit one straight down the throat of long on.
However, even as Karachi were celebrating, it emerged that Usman had overstepped. More drama ensued as the two batsmen - Akhtar and Gulraiz Sadaf - hadn't completed the run. Despite the ball being ruled dead with Ravi Bopara, the fielder, having completed the catch before the run was completed, the umpires Aleem Dar and Tim Robinson ruled that Sadaf would be on strike for the last ball. With two needed off the final delivery, Usman nailed his yorker and Sadaf could manage only one as the game went into the Super Over. Just over a week ago, Lahore found themselves on the wrong side of a Super Over. This time they would prove to be second-time lucky.
Having put into bat earlier in the night, Karachi found a steady tempo for the major part of the innings. Despite losing opener Joe Denly early on, Karachi prospered from a 72-run stand between Babar Azam
and Lendl Simmons
. Simmons began with three boundaries driven through the covers off Anton Devcich's bowling, and settled in with an equal measure of nifty cuts and expansive slogs. By the time he was dismissed in the 12th over, Simmons had made 55 off 39 deliveries. Azam, meanwhile, had a fortuitous moment when he lofted Yasir Shah to mid on where Shaheen Afridi fluffed a sitter. Reprieved on zero, he went on to score his second fifty in three games, a 49-ball 61.
Lahore's chase was moulded on the same template as Karachi's, as they accumulated runs at a good clip without much extravagance. Agha Salman (50 off 45 balls) played a mature hand with Fakhar Zaman (28) and Devcich (24) rallying around him. Even as it looked like Lahore had this chase covered, Karachi's bowlers, led by captain Imad Wasim and Bopara, took the pace off and slowed things down. Like Lahore, who had scored only 24 runs from overs 10 to 15, Karachi, too, faltered in this phase to manage only 32 runs.
In a bid to up the scoring rate, Salman attempted to clear the deep midwicket fence but was undone by a terrific tag-team effort from the Azam-Simmons duo. Azam took the catch, and realising he was falling over the ropes, scooped the ball back to Simmons. Soon after, with 23 needed off 11 balls, Wasim backpedalled to pluck a fine catch to dismiss Sohail Khan and bumped his head into the turf in the process. Stretchered off the field, he had scans overnight and was kept under observation, which revealed a mild concussion. However, "his vitals are fine", the PSL tweeted on the afternoon after the game.*
Where the match was won
In a game where there were too many false dawns, the decisive blow was struck by the understated Narine in the Super Over. Despite not having a huge score to defend, Narine wrested the match in Lahore's favour in the first three deliveries. Starting with a straighter one on the stumps which Simmons couldn't score off, he got away with a full toss next ball as the batsman could only manage a single off it. The third delivery, to Ingram, was a loopy offbreak that produced a top-edged slog brilliantly held by a diving Mitchell McClenaghan at fine leg. Narine pinned down Simmons once again with a 116 kph delivery and effectively put the lid on the match there and then.
The men who won it
While it is hard to look beyond Narine, it is important to acknowledge Salman's composure at the top and McCullum's cool under pressure. After Salman had marshalled the innings, McCullum, coming into bat at No.5, struggled to get his timing right, but managed the impactful strikes, like the ramp six off Usman. In the Super Over, too, his boundary off the penultimate ball from Mohammad Amir gave Lahore some extra cushion after they had lost Zaman early on.
Where they stand
A win for Karachi could have seen them dislodge table-toppers Quetta Gladiators. Instead, they remain on third position with nine points. Lahore Qalandars, meanwhile, are officially out of the tournament, but have managed to salvage some pride with their second successive win in as many days.
*8.40 GMT, March 12: The update on Imad Wasim was added after the PSL tweeted about him on Monday.
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun