KARACHI: Lahore Qalandars kept hopes of reaching their first final of the Pakistan Super League alive after Mohammad Hafeez guided them to a five-wicket victory in the Eliminator 1 clash at the National Stadium here on Saturday night.
Lahore — who had never progressed beyond the preliminary stage in all four previous editions — will now take on Multan Sultans in Eliminator 2 on Sunday, with the winners of that match going through to Tuesday night’s final against Karachi Kings, who had earlier in the evening defeated Multan in the Super Over after their Qualifier had ended in a dramatic tie.
The outcome of this do-or-die fixture hung in the balance after England’s white-ball specialist Saqib Mahmood made early inroads as the 23-year-old paceman dismissed Fakhar Zaman, Tamim Iqbal and Lahore skipper Sohail Akhtar in 11 deliveries. But Hafeez kept Lahore in the game for as long as he was at the crease. The 40-year-old batsman paced his innings brilliantly to finish on an undefeated 74.
The right-hander’s 46-ball effort was decorated with nine boundaries and two sixes. The innings earned him the man-of-the-match award, as Lahore won with an over to spare. The outcome of the match ensured that the fifth edition will have new champions after the preliminary-round exits of two-time winners Islamabad United, last year’s champions Quetta Gladiators and on Saturday Peshawar Zalmi, who lifted the trophy in 2017.
David Wiese ended the match in style by hoisting a delivery by Peshawar skipper Wahab Riaz for a six as he and Hafeez shared a partnership of 41 in 18 deliveries.
Lahore Qalandars clash with Multan Sultans in Eliminator 2 today
Earlier in the game, it was Hardus Viljoen who provided Peshawar some crucial runs with a swashbuckling cameo at the death. The South African fast bowler, who was signed up as a replacement player, blasted Haris Rauf for two sixes and as many fours in an eventful final over that yielded 20 runs and a last ball wicket of Viljoen.
Peshawar, who were the runners-up in the past two editions, were not allowed to score freely after Sohail Akhtar opted to field first. Faf du Plessis, the former South Africa captain, who is also brother-in-law of Viljoen, marked his maiden appearance in the PSL by making a handy contribution at the top.
He scored 31 from 25 deliveries following the early dismissal of Haider Ali, who received an unplayable yorker upfront from Pakistan speedster Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Shoaib Malik, another seasoned campaigner with loads of T20 experience, hit a 24-ball 39 (two sixes and as many fours) until he was adjudged caught behind by TV umpire Ahsan Raza after on-field official Shozab Raza refused to declare the ex-Pakistan captain out.
Imam-ul-Haq c and b Wiese 24
Haider Ali b Shaheen 0
Sohaib Maqsood c Fakhar b Dilbar 16
F. du Plessis c Dunk b Dilbar 31
Shoaib Malik c Dunk b Dilbar 39
Mohammad Imran c Fakhar b Wiese 7
C.R. Brathwaite c Hafeez b Shaheen 10
C.G. Viljoen c Sohail b Haris 37
Wahab Riazc Sohail b Haris 0
Saqib Mahmood not out 2
EXTRAS: (LB-1, W-2) 3
TOTAL: (for nine wkts, 20 overs) 170
FALL OF WKTS: 1-1, 2-32, 3-54, 4-85, 5-96, 6-129, 7-131, 8-133, 9-170.
DID NOT BAT: Rahat Ali.
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-19-2 (1w); Haris Rauf 4-0-48-2 (1w); Dilbar Hussain 4-0-33-3;Patel4-0-29-0; Wiese 4-0-40-2.
Fakhar Zaman c Imam b Saqib 6
Tamim Iqbal c Imam b Saqib 18
Sohail Akhtar c Wahab b Saqib 7
Mohammad Hafeez not out 74
B.R. Dunk c Brathwaite b Imran 20
S.R. Patel c Viljoen b Rahat 20
D. Wiese not out 16
EXTRAS: (B-1, LB-3, W-6) 10
TOTAL: (for five wkts, 19 overs) 171
FALL OF WKTS: 1-18, 2-25, 3-33, 4-88, 5-130.
DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Faizan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Dilbar Hussain, Haris Rauf.
BOWLING: Shoaib Malik 1-0-6-0;Rahat Ali 4-0-24-1; Saqib Mahmood4-0-41-3;Wahab Riaz 4-0-37-0 (1w); Viljoen 2-0-23-0 (1w); Brathwaite2-0-20-0; Mohammad Imran 2-0-16-1.
RESULT:Lahore Qalandars won by five wickets.
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan).
TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan).
MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Javed Malik (Pakistan).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Mohammad Hafeez.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2020