LAHORE: While acknowledging that he is yet to fully regain batting form, Lahore Qalandars’ opener Fakhar Zaman says his team’s victory in the crucial match against Peshawar Zalmi has inculcated great feeling in the squad which is now gelling well at the right time.
Speaking at the post-match media conference after Qalandars earned a five-wicket victory against Zalmi in a thrilling match on Tuesday night, which lifted the former to third place on the points table for the first time, Fakhar said he was trying to middle the ball but could not do so.
A struggling Fakhar finally regained touch in the ongoing PSL on Tuesday with a belligerent 46-ball 63 -- his first half-century for Qalandars in seven outings -- as Qalandars recorded their fourth win of this season to increase their points tally to eight in eight matches.
The 29-year-old Fakhar admired his batting partner Chris Lynn (59 off 32 balls) for the latter’s support role during their crucial 96-run stand for the second wicket.
“Though I had settled, Lynn, who joined me later, asked me try to stay at the crease and he [Lynn] will take the charge, so that was a great spirit shown by Lynn that helped our team come closer to the victory, as I was not properly middling the ball properly,” the left hander said.
“Our team has gelled well and we now have the right momentum and will give tough time to every opponent,” warned Fakhar.
He also praised the team management for keeping trust in him despite his below-par show in the previous PSL matches.
“I was really amazed when the team management asked me to go and open the innings, despite the fact that I was out of form,” he said.
He said Qalandars had a firm belief in the abilities of David Wiese and Samit Patel that they could hit a six off any bowler in the game against Zalmi, and Wiese exactly did the same when the team required it in the last over bowled by paceman Carlos Brathwaite.
Meanwhile, Brathwaite, when asked during his post-match talk, if his team-mate Rahat Ali’s penultimate over proved fatal for his team’s defeat to Qalandars, he denied that one particular over could change the result of the match.
“Captain Wahab Riaz trusts [all] his players and took right decisions [in the match].”
Qalandars, the West Indies player underlined, had struck form.
“Lynn’s fine innings was the turning point and I congratulate Qalandars for winning the match which proved a good contest.”
Braithwaite further said that the credit for putting up a fighting total (187-7) went to Shoaib Malik and Haider Ali. “But Fakhar and Lynn took the match away from us.”
Zalmi manager and bowling coach Arshad Khan said as Lynn and Fakhar were on the charge, Wahab and Hasan had to be used in the middle overs, so their quota of overs had been completed before death overs. He differed with the questioner that off-spinner Shoaib should have been used when left-handed Fakhar was batting.
“The captain may be the right person to give the answer of this question,” Arshad said.
“Most of the pitches in contemporary T20 games are batting-friendly so introducing an off-spinner against left-handed batsmen does not make a big difference; other bowlers were equally good but unfortunately we could not perform in the last overs.”
He said 187 was a winning total and did not think that his team was 15 to 20 runs short.
“Peshawar Zalmi will try their best to win the last match against Multan Sultans in Karachi to qualify for the playoffs,” Arshad added.
Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2020