Lahore Qalandars win high-scoring clash against Peshawar Zalmi
With uncertainty to host Pakistan Super League (PSL) loomed over Lahore for a fair bit of time, even at the toss, the authorities were unsure that the tournament would continue in the city of not after a deadlock between both the interim Punjab Government and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), despite all of that defending champions and home side Lahore Qalandars were ready to put on a show on Sunday night.
It was the second doubleheader of the tournament, and wow, what an entertaining day it has been. Setting up a mammoth 241-3 on the scoreboard, it seems like Qalandars got their frustration out with the bat.
Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique, who was playing for the first time in the PSL this year, were relentless against the Zalmi bowlers. The batters put up a 120-run stand for the second wicket, to provide the home side with a perfect start.
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They smashed the bowlers all over the park for their 69-ball stand. The Babar Azam’s side had no answer to this onslaught as they got hammered from both ends. Fakhar scored 28-ball 43 in the stand, while Abdullah walked back to the hut after scoring 75 off 41 deliveries. The stylish right-hander hit five boundaries and the same number of maximums.
He was dismissed by Wahab Riaz, who ended up with the figures of 2 for 45.
His wicket didn’t stop the run-flow as Sam Billings, who joined the side after the Karachi leg, put on an entertaining, 23-ball 47. He struck five fours and three sixes.
Fakhar was unlucky as he departed after scoring a brilliant 96 which came off from just 45 balls. The opener hit three boundaries and 10 maximums.
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In reply, Shaheen Shah Afridi got the better of both Mohammad Haris (0) and captain Babar Azam (7) as he bowled both of them in his opening spell.
This didn’t stop Zalmi from putting up a good fight, as young Saim Ayub once again showed a glimpse of his talent, while Tom Kohler-Cadmore made a valiant effort with the bat.
The duo scored half-centuries to bring Zalmi back into the tie. Saim struck seven boundaries and two sixes for his 51(34) while Cadmore scored 55 by hitting three fours and five maximums.
They left the crease in the 11th and 12th over, which broke Zalmi’s momentum. Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24) and Rovman Powell (20) tried their best to get Zalmi close to the target, but the task was too big as they managed to reach 201-9 in their allotted 20 overs.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was the star of the show with the ball, as he claimed five wickets for 40 runs.