KARACHI: Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim has termed his decision not to bowl during the high-octane HBL Pakistan Super League encounter against Lahore Qalandars as part of the strategy.
Qalandars avenged their defeat in the PSL V final last November to arch-rivals by completing an incredible comeback despite losing two wickets for no runs and then losing in-form Mohammad Hafeez while slipping to 33-3 in their pursuit of the 187-run target with Fakhar Zaman (83) and Ben Dunk (57 not out) sharing a 119-run partnership before David Wiese’s nine-ball cameo of 31 carried them over the line.
“The reason I didn’t bowl was the fact that there were two left-handers [Fakhar and Dunk] batting and then we had [Mohammad] Nabi with his off-spinners. So we had other bowling option, but unfortunately it didn’t work out as we had expected,” the left-handed spinning all-rounder Imad, who normally operates himself in the first over with the new ball, explained.
“The match was still in Karachi’s favour until they [Lahore] smashed 30 runs off eight balls. In hindsight we didn’t capitalise during the last four overs of our innings and felt short by 15-20 runs.”
Karachi were dented badly by the excellence of Shaheen Shah Afridi, who dismissed Babar Azam (5) and then came back at the death to claim a brace to end up with 3-27 that earned the pace ace man-of-the-match award.
“No complaints there because they are part and parcel of cricket. However, we should have defended our total, especially after taking two wickets every early in the chase. The pitch was just fantastic and there’s the crowd factor, which was wonderful to see. The Karachi versus Lahore rivalry has always been passionately followed in the PSL and tonight was no different either.
“Overall, we have to learn from our mistakes in this game because some of the guys are very young in the bowling department. Having said that leaking 30 runs at the backend shouldn’t be happening but it happened,” the Karachi captain lamented.
Dunk lauds Fakhar
Dunk, on the other hand, was left in no doubt at the outcome in the final count and showered praise on fellow left-hander Fakhar for producing an excellent innings under pressure.
“It was a great game and I thought our guys played really, really well after we lost three wickets early on,” the ex-Australian batsman, who also doubles up as wicket-keeper, remarked during the post-match interview.
“Obviously, I’m pleased to have played an important role with Fakhar who batted beautifully. Our plan was to hang in and take it deep as much after losing three wickets at the top.
“In the context of the match, it wasn’t certainly one of my most fluid innings but I would say it was a crucial effort nonetheless before David [Wiese] came out with the fireworks which eventually pulled us through and I’m glad we got the job done.”
Speaking of Qalandars’ chances this year, Dunk admitted there is still a long way ago. “After we finished second last year when we lost to Karachi, our goal is to certainly make the top four again and hopefully play our best cricket at the backend of the tournament. And from a personal perspective I just hope that I contribute as much as possible.”
Dunk revealed he thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere during the derby fixture.
“Yeah, it was electrifying no doubt and when I played against Karachi in Lahore last year, it was definitely the noisiest crowd I ever experienced in any game of cricket. However, having 50 percent [of the fans, although the actual turnout was around 5,000 on Sunday], it was wonderful to have the buzz going. I’m hoping that when we get back to our home ground [Gaddafi Stadium], the fans will turn up to rally behind Qalandars and we’ll try to put big smiles on their faces,” Dunk said.
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021