Pakistan and Lahore Qalandars speedster Haris Rauf put in his best performance when it mattered as his deadly spell in the death overs helped restrict Multan Sultans to 160-5 during their PSL 2023 qualifier in Lahore on Wednesday.
Multan looked set to post a bigger total, especially with Kieron Pollard firing on all cylinders and Lahore pace spearhead Shaheen Afridi going for 0-47 in his four overs. But Rauf stepped up to the challenge, first removing the dangerous Usman Khan - in his first over with a slower ball - before returning at the death to squeeze the life out of Multan's batting.
Rauf bowled one of the quickest last overs in T20 cricket, bowling the first four balls in excess of 150kph, and accounting for the scalps of Pollard and Khushdil Shah off successive deliveries.
Rauf bowled Pollard with a delivery clocked at 154kph (95.6mph). According to available data, it was the fastest delivery of PSL 2023, bettering the mark of 152.6kph by Multan quick Ihsanullah. The right-arm quick finished with superb figures of 3-34. He was given great support by star spinner Rashid Khan, who finished with 1-18 in his four overs.
That the match went ahead was a minor miracle in itself. Political unrest in Lahore had put a question mark over the fate of the playoffs after former prime minister Imran Khan defied attempts to arrest him and remained in his house in Lahore as thousands of his supporters clashed with police.
Supporters of Mr Khan threw bricks at police, who used clubs and teargas for a second day on Wednesday as officers tried to arrest him for failing to appear in court on various charges.