Brendon McCullum, the Lahore Qalandars captain, said he was "obviously not satisfied" with the team's results this season, after a five-wicket defeat against Karachi Kings left Lahore at last place on the table, facing the likelihood of missing out on a playoff spot for the second successive season.
Lahore's chances of progressing to the knockouts now depend on Islamabad United defeating Karachi by a heavy margin on Sunday, and the turn of events left McCullum ruing that the team had fallen behind during the tournament's clutch moments.
McCullum lauded Karachi allrounder Kieron Pollard who struck two sixes off the last two balls of the match to seal the win. Karachi had needed 14 off the final over and 10 off the last two balls, before seamer Aamer Yamin was dispatched for sixes on either side of the wicket by Pollard.
"It was a wonderful match again," McCullum said. "We have been involved in some cracking matches in this tournament. We have won some, and lost some as well. I think we have played entertaining cricket throughout, but when it comes down to in, in a couple of key moments, we ran second.
"Obviously, Kieron Pollard is an incredible player. What he delivered at the end was something pretty special. Overall I was really happy with the efforts of the guys, and you never know what will happen tomorrow. In the end, it was a great game to be a part of. This game can be so fickle. It can turn on one or two balls. As long as the guys keep turning up, and are proud of the team they are playing for, they leave everything they have got out on the field. They buy into team plans, and play with the pride we want to be known for, then the results you can't control, to a degree, but you can control the effort you put out."
Lahore have had a few impressive performances from some of their younger Pakistan players and senior hands like Yasir Shah and Sunil Narine. Fakhar Zaman has been the top run-getter for the side with 177 runs, while 21-year-old seamer Mohammad Irfan jnr has emerged as a future prospect. Yasir and Narine have taken 19 wickets between them, with the Pakistan legspinner keen to show his value in limited-overs cricket, while Sohail Tanvir has taken 10 wickets and played a couple of useful cameos in the lower order.
"I'm really proud of each individual," said McCullum. "When we picked this team in the draft this year, we wanted to pick a group of guys who were good people, who would play for a common cause. I think that is what we have had. Yeah, we haven't necessarily had the results, but that mantra of what the Lahore Qalandars want to be known for is something we have tried to play for this year.
"Of course we are not satisfied. You want to be winning the competition, that is what you turn up to do. But it is a fickle game, and you have to roll with the punches sometimes. If you do run second, you have to cop it on the chin. We don't mind losing games if we turn up and play well. If the other team plays better than you, you can't control that. I think, for the majority of this tournament, we have given good performances. We have run into some special individuals during the course of this tournament, but on another day we could have been sat at the top of the table as well, such is the nature of how close the games have been."
McCullum said Yamin, who bowled the final over against Karachi, was a "real find" for the side. Yamin has played three limited-overs matches for Pakistan in 2015 and has taken five wickets in five matches across two seasons of the PSL, having turned out for Peshawar Zalmi last season.
"He has been a real find for us since he came in through the latter stages of this tournament," McCullum said. "He delivered an amazing performance in those first 3.4 overs. When you are bowling to Pollard, you can bowl your best ball and it can still disappear for six. He is pretty disappointed at the moment, but in the wash-up from this, he will be able to learn a lesson of being in those crunch moments, when a game is on the line.
"He may do something different next time, or do the exact same thing and have success. It is such a fine line, but I am really proud of his efforts. He is such an integral member of this team. It's certainly not his fault. We just ran into a guy who was better than us in that clutch moment."