LAHORE QALANADARS’ spinner Rashid Khan celebrates after cleaning up Quetta Gladiators opener Ahsan Ali during their HBL Pakistan Super League match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.—Arif Ali/White Star
LAHORE QALANADARS’ spinner Rashid Khan celebrates after cleaning up Quetta Gladiators opener Ahsan Ali during their HBL Pakistan Super League match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.—Arif Ali/White Star

LAHORE: Shaheen Shah Afridi set it up for the Lahore Qalandars. Yet another half-century from Fakhar Zaman and another from Kamran Ghulam completed victory against Quetta Gladiators.

The eight-wicket victory at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday was a fifth win in seven for the Qalandars, not only brought them closer to a playoff spot for Shaheen’s men but also avanged their loss to the Gladiators earlier this week in the final match of the Karachi leg.

This was a game they dominated from start to finish, chasing down the 142-run target with enviable ease and ending the Gladiators’ two-match winning run in the HBL Pakistan Super League.

With Shaheen firing with the ball and Fakahr piling up the runs, the Qalandars feel it could finally be their time as they chase a maiden title as they closed to win two points of leaders and holders Multan Sultans with 10 points. The Gladiators are one of three teams on six.

“We have bowlers with great variation and I’m glad with the way runs are coming for me,” Fakhar, whose 53 was his fifth half-century of the season to go along with a century, said. “The way the team is gelling, I think we can go on to win this.”

A searing first over by Shaheen had put the Gladiators on the back foot, removing their dangermen Jason Roy and James Vince off consecutive deliveries.

Roy’s hitting prowess has proved inspirational for the Gladiators but here, he went for a duck as he charged down to Shaheen who followed him with a short ball down leg-side which the England opener could only glove to wicket-keeper Phil Salt.

Vince followed next ball with a fuller delivery on middle stump which swung late to dismantle his stumps.

Shaheen was on fire and it required captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who’s unbeaten half-century had made it back-to-back wins for the Gladiators a night earlier, to help with a rebuilding effort.

But the Gladiators captain was run out for 12 thanks to smart fielding by Kamran Ghulam who’s direct hit left Sarfraz short of his crease. And they went from 20-3 to 25-4 when opener Ahsan Ali was cleaned up by a Rashid Khan googly.

Umar Akmal (25) broke the shackles with three boundaries and a six as he added 29 with Iftikhar Ahmed but he was gone trying to up the scoring rate when he found Shaheen off David Wiese at mid-off.

It was Iftikhar’s 39-ball 52 which gave the Gladiators a total to defend. Alongside Hassan Khan (17), Iftikhar took the Gladiators past 100 before Wiese removed his partner.

Having clubbed three sixes and two boundaries, Iftikhar fell on the final delivery of the 18th over as he was deceived by Haris Rauf’s change of pace and could only find Abdullah Shafique at backward square leg.

Noor Ahmed (13 not out) hit two boundaries but the writing was on the wall for the Gladiators as the Qalandars enjoyed a stroll.

With Fakhar in devastating form, the target never seemed in doubt even after though his fellow opener Abdullah (19) was dismissed with 101 runs still to get.

He combined with Kamran Ghulam (55 not out) to put victory within reach before he was dismissed in the 16th over by Noor after hitting six fours in his 42-ball innings.

Kamran completed his half-century in the next over before Mohammad Hafeez sealed victory with a six off Hassan.

Scoreboard

QUETTA GLADIATORS:

Batters and mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Jason Roy c Salt b Shaheen 0 2 0 0 0.00
Ahsan Ali b Rashid 8 12 1 0 66.66
James Vince b Shaheen 0 1 0 0 0.00
Sarfraz Ahmed run out (Kamran) 12 11 2 0 109.09
Iftikhar Ahmed c Abdullah b Haris 52 39 2 3 133.33
Umar Akmal c Shaheen b Wiese 25 19 3 1 131.57
Hassan Khan c Hafeez b Wiese 17 19 1 0 89.47
Sohail Tanvir not out 7 10 0 0 70.00
Noor Ahmad not out 13 7 2 0 185.71

EXTRAS (LB-3, W-4) 7
TOTAL (for seven wickets, 20 overs) 141
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0 (Roy), 2-0 (Vince), 3-20 (Sarfraz), 4-25 (Ahsan), 5-54 (Umar), 6-106 (Hassan), 7-124 (Iftikhar)
DID NOT BAT: Naseem Shah, Ghulam Mudassar.

BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-27-2 (1w), Haris 4-0-37-1 (2w), Zaman 3-0-22-0 (1w), Rashid 4-0-13-1, Wiese 4-0-25-2, Kamran 1-0-14-0.

LAHORE QALANDARS:

Batters and mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Fakhar Zaman c Iftikhar b Noor 53 42 6 0 126.19
Abdullah Shafique c Iftikhar b Mudassar 19 20 3 0 95.00
Kamran Ghulam not out 55 39 4 1 141.02
Mohammad Hafeez not out 9 5 0 1 180.00

EXTRAS (LB-4, W-3) 7
TOTAL (for two wickets, 17.4 overs) 143
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-41 (Abdullah), 2-118 (Fakhar)
DID NOT BAT: Phil Salt, Harry Brook, David Wiese, Rashid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan.
BOWLING: Tanvir 4-0-30-0 (1w), Naseem 3-022-0, Noor 4-0-24-1 (2w), Mudassar 3-0-25-1, Iftikhar 1-0-12-0, Hassan 2.4-0-26-0.

RESULT: Lahore Qalandars won by eight wickets
UMPIRES: Michael Gough (England) and Asif Yaqoob (Pakistan)
TV UMPIRE: Rashid Riaz (Pakistan)
MATCH REFEREE: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka)

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2022

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