KARACHI: The contest was all but over when Lahore Qalandars pacer Zaman Khan got two in two almost halfway through the Peshawar Zalmi innings on Wednesday.
With the asking rate climbing in their chase of 200 at the National Stadium, Zaman had left Zalmi reeling when he sent back Hussain Talat and Kamran Akmal on consecutive deliveries to leave them needing 133 in their last 11 overs.
A tough ask for Zalmi made worse as they couldn’t capitalise on Qalandars’ poor fielding in their HBL Pakistan Super League clash. There were five dropped catches as well as a missed chance for a stumping.
Hussain (15) got three reprieves. He was dropped by wicket-keeper Zeeshan Ashraf off Zaman in the second over before the pacer failed to take the left-hander’s catch off Haris Rauf’s bowling in the sixth over. Then, Kamran Ghulam dropped another catch off his own bowling in the seventh over.
Fakhar, who dropped two catches afterwards, did hold on to a catch on the leg-side to dismiss Hussain.
Later on, Haider Ali, who managed 49 off 34 (three fours and as many sixes), was dropped once and survived a stumping chance before Sherfane Rutherford (21 off 11, three fours and six) was dropped by Fakhar off Rashid Khan in the 14th.
At that point, the Guyanese was playing at 16, having hit two fours and a six off Rashid.
Zalmi would also have rued shuffling their top order to accommodate Kamran and Hazratullah Zazai in place of Yasir Khan and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who opened the innings in the first two matches.
With Zazai cleaned up by Qalandars skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi on the third ball of the innings, their chase never got going after opposing openers Fakhar and Abdullah Shafique had laid the platform for Qalandars for a big total.
Kamran hit their first boundary in the fourth over as Zalmi managed only 48 runs in the powerplay.
In his 41 off 24, Kamran hit Rashid for a two fours and a six as the leg-spinner was introduced in the attack in the fifth.
That over, that went for 19 runs, did look like one where Zalmi would lift themselves, but that did not turn out to be the case as wickets kept falling for the Wahab Riaz-led unit after Zaman’s ninth over where after dismissing Hussain, he bowled Kamran with a yorker.
Shoaib Malik, their batting fulcrum, went early. Rutherford was threatening but Zaman was too good for him, rattling his stumps with another beautiful delivery.
Haider defied the Qalandars but he couldn’t get Zalmi past the line. Fakhar somewhat made up for his dropped catches when his bullet throw had Haider run out.
Earlier, Fakhar and Abdullah hit eight fours and four sixes before the latter fell after scoring 41 off 31 (three fours and two sixes), when he miscued a sweep off Usman Qadir for Zazai to take a simple catch at midwicket.
After Abdulah’s departure it seemed as if Fakhar, who had been compact with his shots till that point, went restless and played some rash shots before failing prey to Talat’s medium pace as he holed it to Ben Cutting at midwicket.
The left-hander, who departed after contributed 66 off 38 (six fours and three sixes), however, started the Qalandars’ innings with some exquisite cut shots through the off side against Malik’s off-spin and Arish Ali Khan slow left-armers in the first two overs.
In an attempt to get Fakhar early off some new-ball off-break, Zalmi handed the ball to Malik, but the left-hander welcomed him with an exquisite late cut on the very first ball, he played two more beautiful strokes through the offside against Arish Ali Khan’s left-arm spin in the next over.
Fakhar looked as effective against pace, when he launched Salman Irshad for his first six as the medium-pacer came in to bowl the third over.
Abdullah, who didn’t look as dangerous as his opening partner initially, announced his threat when he lofted Arish for a long and straight six before sweeping a wayward delivery for a four.
The Pakistan Test opener took on Malik in the seventh over for his second maximum before Fakhar swept for another as Zalmi skipper Wahab handed Usman Qadir the ball in the eighth.
The Mardan-born southpaw reached his fifty at the start of the 10th over before Qadir got Shafique and hit the leg-spinner for a six and a four in the 12th before throwing away his wicket.
Kamran Ghulam and Mohammad Hafeez, who came in at three and four respectively, combined for 45 off 30 balls before the former holed out a full toss by Salman to Malik, who took a brilliant catch at long-on after adding 30 off 23 (three fours and a six).
Hafeez went on to score an unbeaten 37 off 19, displaying quick running between the wickets as he hit only three fours and six in a knock which had a strike-rate of 194.73.
Though South African all-rounder David Wiese was caught behind for a golden duck, it was Rashid Khan who ensured the Lahore outfit finished well.
The Afghan wrist-spinner started off his seven-ball cameo with a slash over point for six off Salman.
As the right-armer returned to bowl the last over, Rashid hit him for two outrageous maximums — one a slice over the offside and the other a short-arm jab to clear square-leg to end up with 22 runs as Lahore posted 199.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Fakhar Zaman c Cutting b Hussain 66 38 6 3 132.25
Abdullah Shafique c Zazai b Usman 41 31 3 2 173.68
Kamran Ghulam c Malik b Salman 30 23 3 1 130.43
Mohammad Hafeez not out 37 19 3 1 194.73
David Wiese c Kamran b Salman 0 1 0 0 0.00
Rashid Khan not out 22 8 0 3 275.00
EXTRAS (B-1, W-2) 3
TOTAL (for four wickets, 20 overs) 199
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-94 (Shafique), 2-114 (Fakhar), 3-159 (Ghulam), 4-169 (Wiese).
DID NOT BAT: Zeeshan Ashraf, Dean Foxcroft, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf.
BOWLING: Malik 2-0-20-0, Arish 3-0-36-0(1w), Salman 4-0-47-2 (1w), Wahab 4-0-33-0, Usman 4-0-43-1, Hussain 3-0-19-1.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Hazratullah Zazai b Shaheen 0 3 0 0 0.00
Kamran Akmal b Zaman 41 24 4 2 170.83
Hussain Talat c Fakhar b Zaman 15 24 0 0 62.50
Haider Ali run out (Fakhar) 49 34 3 3 144.11
Shoaib Malik c Haris b Rashid 7 9 1 0 77.77
Sherfane Rutherford b Zaman 21 11 3 1 190.90
Ben Cutting c Foxcroft b Shaheen 10 8 0 1 125.00
Wahab Riaz c Shaheen b Wiese 0 2 0 0 0.00
Usman Qadir not out 7 2 0 1 350.00
Arish Ali Khan b Wiese 0 1 0 0 0.00
Salman Irshad not out 1 2 0 0 50.00
EXTRAS (B-13, LB-4, W-2) 19
TOTAL (for nine wickets, 20 overs) 170
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0 (Zazai), 2-62 (Hussain), 3-62 (Kamran), 4-89 (Malik), 5-125 (Rutherford), 6-158 (Cutting), 7-158 (Haider), 8-163 (Wahab), 9-163 (Arish)
BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-19-2, Zaman 4-0-32-3, Rashid 4-0-38-1, Haris 4-0-35-0, Kamran 2-0-18-0 (2w), Wiese 2-0-11-2
RESULT: Lahore Qalandars won by 29 runs
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar and Shozab Raza (both Pakistan)
TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan)
MATCH REFEREE: Ali Naqvi (Pakistan)
Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2022