Billings takes gloves as Kent duo win Pakistan Super League

Saturday 18th March 2023

Men’s First Team

Billings takes gloves as Kent duo win Pakistan Super League

With his Kent teammate Jordan Cox a part of the wider squad, Kent Men’s Captain Sam Billings was on the field as the Lahore Qalandars retained their Pakistan Super League (PSL) title with a thrilling one-run victory over Multan Sultans at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Kent Spitfires’ T20 opener for 2023 is against Gloucestershire at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury on Wednesday 24 May – entry to all scheduled T20 home matches is included in Kent Cricket Memberships, on sale now.

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Billings had contributed nine runs batting at four after Qalandars captain Shaheen Shah Afridi won the Toss & elected to bat first. The match began after a short delay due to the stadium’s lights taking time to turn back on after a spectacular opening show that included a fireworks display.

Having set Multan Sultans a target of 201 to win thanks to big hitting from both Afridi (44 from 15 balls) & Abdullah Shafique (65 from 40), the match went right to the final over. Sultans needed 13 to win from the final six balls, having been put in that position by Rilee Rossouw’s 52 from 32 7 skipper Mohammad Rizwan scoring 34 from 23.

Clever bowling from right-arm pacer Zaman Khan, despite the Sultans needing four from the final delivery, ensured that the Qalandars retained their title as champions of the PSL – despite Sultans nearly running ‘a three’ to take the game to a tie-breaker.

Billings added the PSL trophy to his Vitality Blast & IPL career wins with Kent & Chennai Super Kings respectively, after helping to ensure victory with the run-out of Khushdil Shah.

Speaking after the victory, Billings said: “That’s what T20 cricket is all about – what a great advert for the game and it’s great to be on the winning side.

“This was my first experience of cricket in Pakistan and it didn’t disappoint. The noise was something I haven’t experienced before, you can feel the passion for cricket here.

“The game itself was always tipped n the balance – the wicket of Rilee Rossouw was a huge moment and the game kept twisting and turning.”

During the Qalandars’ Eliminator yesterday to reach the Final, Billings had contributed a vital 28 runs from 21 balls in the Qalandars’ middle-order to help them towards their successful run chase of 176/6, despite at one stage being 69/3 to a Peshawar team that included former Kent Spitfires left-arm paceman, Wahab Riaz.

Billings has been the Qalandars’ first-choice wicketkeeper throughout the tournament – the first one that the Kent Men’s skipper has experienced in Pakistan.

Overall, the Kent skipper has contributed 235 runs at an average of 26.11 in his ten matches, with a top score of 54 leading the middle order against Multan Sultans during the group stages.

Saturday’s PSL showpiece match was was the second time both Cox & Billings have been involved in a Final of a franchise T20 tournament this Winter – 22-year-old Cox won the inaugural SA20 competition with Sunrisers Eastern Cape last month, whilst Billings’ Desert Vipers side ran out runners up in the first ILT20, held in the UAE.

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