Qalandars snatch victory from jaws of defeat against Sultans
Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight got off to a magnificent start as Lahore Qalandars held their nerves to sink Multan Sultans after a close contest.
It was all over for Lahore Qalandars, however three overs from captain Shaheen Shah Afridi Haris Rauf at death change the course of the game and handed Sultans their first defeat at the venue.
Shaheen, not only removed Sultans’ captain Mohammad Rizwan, but also bowled another economical over to bring Qalandars back into the game. He finished up with the figures of 1-27 from his four-over spell.
With 15 runs remaining in the last over, Zaman Khan was given the opportunity to bowl the last over. It started with a single, then a runout of Kieron Pollard (20), and followed by another runout in the shape of Usama Mir.
With Sultans requiring another 10 runs to win from the last two deliveries, Khushdil Shah hit two boundaries, but it wasn’t enough to keep Sultan’s perfect record at the venue intact.
Sultans were restricted to 174-6 in their 20 overs in reply to Qalandars’ 175.
It was supposed to be Mohammad Rizwan’s night, who was outstanding with the bat, scoring 75 off 50 deliveries to keep Sultans hopes alive in the high-scoring contest.
Chasing a 176-run target under lights, Sultans were on top of their game thanks to a 100-run opening stand between their captain and Shan Masood.
The duo was cruising along with the run-chase, before Husain Talat broke the shackles with the wicket of Shan in the 13th over.
Rizwan and David Millar made a 31-runs stand for the second wicket, but Shaheen had other ideas. After the departure of Rizwan, who struck eight boundaries and a six, Sultans lost their way.
Sfter Shaheen’s over, Haris Rauf bowed an economical over, where he conceded just four runs, bought the side back into the game. The Qalandars’ captain in the 18th over conceded just 9 runs, leaving 29 runs for Sultans from the last two overs.
Earlier, batting first after losing the toss, Fakhar Zaman was firing on all cylinders as he struck five maximums and three boundaries for his 42-ball 66.
He was well supported by Tahir Baig (32) in the opening fixture of the Pakistan Super League season eight (PSL8).
The duo provided a 61-run opening stand. Though they struggled early on in the final over of the powerplay, they struck Sameen Gul for four boundaries to finish the proceeding on a high.
The right-hander after scoring 32 off 26 balls was removed by Akeal Hosein. He smashed five boundaries.
Meanwhile, Fakhar and Shai Hope made a 58-run stand for the second wicket, to put Qalandars on the front foot.
Hope and Fakhar were looking good in the middle as they continue to hit boundaries in the middle overs. However, in the 13.4 over Usama Mir broke their dangerous-looking partnership by removing the West Indies international. Hope scored 19.
Kamran Ghulam had a short outing in the middle, as he was castled in the 15th over by Ihsanullah. Meanwhile, Leg-spinner Usama Mir picked up a huge wicket on the first delivery of the 16th over in the shape of Fakhar Zaman to break Qalandars’ momentum.
However, late cameos from Hussain Talat (20) and Sikandar Raza (19) helped the defending champions reach 175/6 in their 20 overs.
Mir was the star of the show with the ball as he claimed two wickets for 37 runs in his four overs.
The tournament began with a glittering opening ceremony. It was the first match for Shaheen Shah Afridi since recovering from a knee injury, he suffered during the ICC T20 World Cup final.
In their last meeting, Lahore Qalandars defeated Sultans to clinch the title at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.
Multan Sultans: Muhammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Usman Khan, David Miller, Kieron Pollard, Khushdil Shah, Akeal Hossain, Usama Mir, Sameen Gul, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Ihsanullah.
Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Tahir Baig, Shai Hope, Kamran Ghulam, Hussain Talat, Sikandar Raza, Liam Dawson, David Wiese, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Zaman Khan.
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