SHARJAH: Lahore Qalandars pulled off a miraculous win from the jaws of defeat in the HBL Pakistan Super League on Friday while riding on the brilliance of A.B. de Villiers and David Wiese to get over the line in a last-ball thriller at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
In a remarkable Match 10 that saw the magical figure of 200 twice being posted, the Qalandars stunned Multan Sultans by six wickets. De Villiers and Wiese came together when the Sultans had almost wrapped up the encounter after reducing the Qalandars to 106-4 in the 13th over.
The target of 201 looked beyond the Qalandars when Brendan Taylor pulled up his hamstring in that same over. But de Villiers and Wiese were not giving in without a fight. And fight they did in a breathtaking period of play during they added 96 in mere 44 balls.
De Villiers, the former South African captain who chose to end his international career last year, kept his composure intact in a wonderful innings of 52 from 29 deliveries. The Qalandars skipper needed someone to go for the big hits and in Wiese he found the perfect ally.
De Villiers found the gaps at will to strike three sixes and as many boundaries. Wiese dealt in sixes only as the all-rounder spanked five of them, including the winning blow — a monstrous hit against Daniel Christian on the final ball of a cracking T20 encounter.
Wiese, who faced only 20 balls for his 45, also enjoyed a huge slice of luck in the 18th over when Junaid Khan had the South African all-rounder nicely taken in the deep by Shoaib Malik but TV replays confirmed the Pakistan left-armer had overstepped.
Upfront Fakhar Zaman had ensured the Qalandars kept pace with the tall asking rate of just over 10 from start of the epic chase. The dashing Pakistan left-hander looked sluggish at times but still managed to thrash a 35-ball 63 that included seven boundaries and three sixes.
The Qalandars headed into this clash on the back of two defeats in three fixtures, including a demoralizing thrashing against Peshawar Zalmi just a couple of nights ago when they got themselves skittled out for just 78.
Earlier in the afternoon, De Villiers’ choice of bowling first appeared an unwise when James Vince and Umar Siddique forged a rollicking first-wicket partnership of 135 in 11.5 overs. Vince took the centre stage with a blistering knock of 84 from only 41 balls as the Englishman bludgeoned seven fours and six sixes.
Umar, one of the four changes the Sultans made to their playing XI from the previous match, justified his selection in a big way. The left-hander, who kept wickets in this game, scored a 38-ball 53 with the aid of four boundaries and a brace of sixes.
At one point it seemed the Sultans would post a total past 220 but the Qalandars staged a superb comeback at the death chiefly through leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, the first player from Nepal to compete in the PSL.
After being savaged by Vince and company, the youngster redeemed himself brilliantly with the wickets of Vince, Malik and Andre Russell to finish with 3-46 in his four-over stint.
De Villiers was named man-of-the-match but Wiese was also a pretty strong contender for the $4,500 award as the Qalandars moved from the bottom of the standings into third place for the time being.
Umar Siddique c Sohail b Shaheen 53 J.M. Vince c Fakhar b Lamichhane 84 Shoaib Malik c Wiese b Lamichhane 10 A.D. Russell c and b Lamichhane 7 L.J. Evans c and b Haris 8 D.T. Christian run out 21 Hammad Azam not out 2 Irfan Khan not out 4 EXTRAS (LB-1, W-10) 11 TOTAL (for six wkts, 20 overs) 200 FALL OF WKTS: 1-135, 2-155, 3-157, 4-163, 5-194, 6-195. DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Ilyas, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan. BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-29-1 (1w); Haris Rauf 4-0-35-1 (2w); Rahat Ali 4-0-47-0 (1w); Wiese 4-0-42-0 (1w); Lamichhane 4-0-46-3.
Fakhar Zaman c Evans b Junaid 63
Sohail Akhtar c Russell b Ilyas 10
Salman Butt b Junaid 17
A.B. de Villiers not out 52
Agha Salman c Umar b Junaid 2
B.R.M. Taylor retired hurt 1
D. Wiese not out 45
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-3, W-6, NB-1) 14
TOTAL (for four wkts, 20 overs) 204
FALL OF WKTS: 1-35, 2-101, 3-102, 4-106.
DID NOT BAT: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Rahat Ali, Haris Rauf, S. Lamichhane.
NOTE: Taylor retired hurt at 108-4 (12.5 overs).
BOWLING: Mohammad Irfan 4-0-29-0 (1w); Mohammad Ilyas 4-0-44-1 (1w); Shoaib Malik 3-0-21-0; Irfan Khan 2-0-27-0; Junaid Khan 4-0-39-3 (1nb); Russell 2-0-28-0; Christian 1-0-10-0.
RESULT: Lahore Qalandars won by six wickets. UMPIRES: R.E.J. Martinesz (Sri Lanka) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan). TV UMPIRE: Rashid Riaz (Pakistan). MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Mahanama (Sri Lanka). MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: A.B. de Villiers.
Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2019