Karachi’s maiden Pakistan Super League (PSL) title was tinged with sadness as the team celebrated without Dean Jones.
The Kings paid tribute to the late Aussie cricket legend after their five-wicket win over Lahore on Wednesday morning (AEDT), comforted somewhat by the knowledge their historic victory would have made him incredibly proud.
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Jones died of a heart attack aged 59 in September when he collapsed in his hotel while quarantining ahead of commentary duties with the Indian Premier League (IPL). He had coached in all five editions of the PSL, winning two titles with Islamabad United before taking charge of Karachi this year.
The team had earlier posed alongside a cardboard cutout of Jones with the words “We miss you!” and when the competition resumed against the Multan Sultans on the weekend, took part in an emotional tribute where players from both sides formed the letter D and stood in a minute’s silence.
On the big screen was written: “Forever in our hearts, Deano!”
Forever in Our Hearts Deano #DeanJones #PSLV pic.twitter.com/mFsQj9i4ZN
Karachi Kings certainly did Dean Jones proud tonight 💙 #PSL2020 pic.twitter.com/TcjS7j3LLA
Pakistani players are not permitted from playing in the IPL — the largest domestic T20 tournament in the world — but their home competition has continued to grow since its inception in 2016.
Jones was a huge supporter of the tournament and was involved every year as a coach, where he gained the trust and respect of all who worked with him.
Cricket analyst and author Freddie Wilde said prior to Karachi’s clash with Lahore the final “is undoubtedly the biggest match in the league’s history, pitting Pakistan’s two major cities against one another”. It was an occasion Jones deserved to experience.
“It’s tragic & so sad that Dean Jones isn’t there to witness it but their triumph is a fitting tribute to their coach,” Wilde tweeted of Karachi’s victory.
There were plenty of other tributes to Jones that came flooding in after the Kings’ win. Karachi captain Imad Wasim said: “I want to give Dean Jones credit for this win. He taught us things about cricket that very few coaches can teach you. This win is for Dean Jones, (owner) Salman Iqbal and (interim coach) Wasim Akram.”
Pakistan legend Akram paid tribute to Jones in his post-game speech to the players as they gathered in a huddle on the field.
“We dedicate this win to Dean Jones, our coach and of course wishes to his family back in Melbourne,” he said.
Karachi’s official Twitter account was littered with the hashtag #DoItForDeano and after securing the trophy the team wrote: “Deano this one is for you!!!”
Cricket writer Israr Ahmed Hashmi tweeted: “Karachi was surely the better team on the field today. Glad that they have dedicated this win to Dean Jones.”
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Deano is being sorely missed.Source:Getty Images
Lahore won the toss and batted first, making 7/134 from its 20 overs.
In reply, Karachi opener Babar Azam took control of the chase and guided the Kings to victory with eight deliveries remaining, finishing unbeaten on 63 off 49 balls.
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