Sikandar Raza, Rashid Khan script Lahore Qalandars’s victory against Quetta Gladiators
Another day and another defeat. That has been the story of Quetta Gladiators in the ongoing Pakistan Super League season eight. They just couldn’t get the job done even if they are chasing a low total.
In Thursday’s game, they were presented the opportunity to grab their second victory this season with both hands after a horror batting collapse, but they let it slip away.
The game seemed to be done and dusted after Lahore Qalandars were reduced to 50/7 in 10 overs. However, Rashid Khan and Sikandar Raza bought them back into the game with a 69-run stand between them.
Rashid played a good supporting role in the partnership, where he scored 21 off 20 balls, but Sikandar was in the whole new element with the bat. He made his intensions clear by smacking Mohammad Nawaz over the mid-wicket for a maximum.
In the next over, he welcomed Umaid Asif with an excellent pickup short to send the ball over the fence at fine leg. Rashid too joined the party with his quick hands as he sent the ball over point for a maximum. He flowed it up with a boundary as well.
This over shift momentum in favour of Qalandars, as the duo continued to dominate against the Gladiators’ bowling attack. In the 14th over, the Zimbabwe international hit Naveen ul Haq for three boundaries to take Qalandars to 99/7.
He continued to score boundaries, until the 16th over, when Oden Smith came back into the attack to remove Rashid.
Quetta once again were on top of the game when Naseem Shah removed Haris Rauf to reduce Qalandars to 125/9.
Sikandar Raza, who scored unbeaten 71 off 34 balls, smashed consecutive boundaries to Naveem and then a six, before Mohammad Nawaz’s throw from deep mid-wicket, which resulted in a run out, ended Qalandars’ innings 148 in 19.2 overs. Zaman Khan was well short from the crease when Umaid broke the stumps.
In replay, Quetta went off to a flying start thanks to Yasir Khan and Will Smeed. The pair put up 53 runs on the board before Hairs Rauf provided Qalandars their first breakthrough.
Yasir scored 14 off 15 balls. His wicket triggered Gladiators’ collapse as Smeed, who was looking good for 32 off 25, was sent packing by Rashid.
Smeed’s wicked also stopped the run flow, as veteran middle-order featuring Mohammad Hafeez, Iftikhar Ahmed and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, were not up to the task as run rate kept climbing up.
The added pressure resulted in the shape of wickets, as they were reduced to 105/6 after 16.2 overs. At that stage, Quetta needed 44 off 24.
The Qalandars pacers kept the things tight as the only conceded a maximum and a boundary to restrict Quetta to 137/7 in their 20 overs. They won the game by 17 runs.
Haris and Rashid bowled economical spells as they claimed three and two wickets respectively.