LAHORE: Once Rashid Khan began producing magic with the ball, he cast a spell over the Multan Sultans batters from which they could never recover.
The Afghan leg-spinner ripped through the heart of the Sultans’ batting line-up, picking three wickets in a dizzying eight-ball span to help Lahore Qalandars to a comfortable 21-run victory at a raucous Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday that strengthened their hold on top spot.
In a game between two sides who will likely finish among the top two, the defending champions sent out another statement after their victory over the Sultans in Multan.
Chasing 181 for victory, the second-placed Sultans had seen their inspirational captain Mohammad Rizwan depart on the first ball of the ninth over and six balls later, Rashid (3-15) put them in a spin.
In an eventful 10th over, Rashid breached the defences of Usama Mir (17) and then took two reviews for lbw on consecutive deliveries, the latter seeing the end of David Miller; the South African pinned to his crease.
Miller’s compatriot Rilee Rossouw had survived the first review but his stumps were undone when he tried to take on Rashid in the following over. From 64-1, the Sultans had been reduced to 87-5 and there was no way back.
Khushdil Shah departed in the 16th over and although Kieron Pollard (39) and Anwar Ali (17 not out) hit a few lusty blows, the match was over by the time it came to the final over with Qalandars captain tossing the ball to Hussain Talat as the Sultans needed 43 to win.
Two of Pollard’s three sixes came in that over before he holed out to Rashid in the deep of the penultimate ball of their innings with the Sultans finishing on 159-7.
A flurry of wickets close to the end of their innings had prevented the Qalandars from posting a bigger total than their 180-9 despite a 69-run partnership between Abdullah Shafique (48) and Sam Billings (54) having laid the foundations for it.
After Fakhar Zaman edged Sameen Gul to Usama Mir at wide third man on the third ball of the first over, his opening partner Mirza Tahir Baig and Abdullah brought the score to 50 in quick time; the duo being especially severe on Khushdil Shah as they smacked the spinner for 17 runs in the second over with the former getting two boundaries and the latter getting a huge six.
But Ihsanullah ended their flowing partnership when he had Tahir caught behind for 17 on the last ball of the fifth over.
Abdullah and Billings, who was dropped early on, then got together to flay the Sultans even though they weren’t able to carry on much of the early momentum as the Qalandars reached 88-2 at the halfway point of their innings.
But then, they broke free; Abdullah showing his full repertoire of strokes and hitting six fours and a six in his 35-ball knock before handing Pollard (2-16) a return catch in the 13th over.
Pollard would account for Billings too, exactly two overs later; the Englishman perishing after hitting six fours and two sixes — both down the ground — off 35 balls before being lbw as he tried to play across the line.
The Qalandars couldn’t get a final flourish with Sikandar Raza (14) hitting a six and a four in his seven-ball stay before he was lbw as he tried to scoop Ihsanullah (2-33) and they then lost two wickets each in the 19th and 20th overs.
David Wiese (15 not out) couldn’t produce his big hits and Anwar Ali (2-21) sent back Hussain Talat and Rashid in the space of three deliveries in the penultimate over before Abbas Afridi (2-25) accounted for Shaheen and Haris Rauf on the last two balls of the innings.
Faced with Qalandars’ strong bowling unit, Shan Masood and Rizwan made a cautious but assured start before their 48-run opening stand came to an end halfway through the seventh over.
Shan (19), who had got boundaries in each of Shaheen’s first two overs, tried to hit Zaman Khan out of the park but only succeeded in getting a leading edge that was superbly grasped by Shaheen while going backwards.
Raza then brought the end of Rizwan with the first ball he bowled, urging Shaheen to go for a review after he’d rapped the Sultans skipper on the pads.
Rizwan’s dismissal for 30 on the first ball of the ninth over, after he hit two boundaries as well as a huge six off Zaman, set the stage for Rashid to take over.
Batters and modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Fakhar Zaman c Usama b Sameen 0 3 0 0 0.00
Mirza Tahir Baig c Rizwan b Ihsanullah 17 11 3 0 154.54
Abdullah Shafique c & b Pollard 48 35 6 1 137.14
Sam Billings lbw b Pollard 54 35 6 2 154.28
Sikandar Raza lbw b Ihsanullah 14 8 1 1 175.00
Hussain Talat c Abbas b Anwar 9 10 1 0 90.00
David Wiese not out 15 12 2 0 125.00
Rashid Khan c Sameen b Anwar 0 2 0 0 0.00
Shaheen Shah Afridi b Abbas 9 4 2 0 225.00
Haris Rauf c Sameen b Abbas 0 1 0 0 0.00
EXTRAS (LB- 2, NB-1, W-11) 14
TOTAL (for nine wickets, 20 overs) 180
DID NOT BAT: Zaman Khan
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-0 (Fakhar), 2-50 (Tahir), 3-119 (Abdullah), 4-140 (Billings), 5-146 (Raza), 6-167 (Hussain), 7-167 (Rashid), 8-180 (Shaheen), 9-180 (Haris Rauf).
BOWLING: Sameen 3-0-29-1 (4w), Khushdil 1-0-17-0, Anwar 3-0-21-2, Ihsanullah 4-0-33-2 (5w, 1nb), Abbas 3-0-25-2, Usama 4-0-37-0 (1w), Pollard 2-0-16-2 (1w).
Batters and modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Shan Masood c Shaheen b Zaman 19 20 2 0 95.00
Mohammad Rizwan lbw b Raza 30 27 2 1 111.11
Usama Mir b Rashid 17 11 1 1 154.54
Rilee Rossouw b Rashid 12 10 0 1 120.00
David Miller lbw b Rashid 1 2 0 0 50.00
Kieron Pollard c Rashid b Hussain 39 28 2 3 139.28
Khushdil Shah c Wiese b Rauf 10 9 1 0 111.11
Anwar Ali not out 17 12 1 1 141.66
Abbas Afridi not out 4 1 1 0 400.00
EXTRAS (LB-4, W-6) 10
TOTAL (for seven wickets, 20 overs) 159
DID NOT BAT: Sameen Gul, Ihsanullah
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-48 (Shan), 2-64 (Rizwan), 3-74 (Usama), 4-76 (Miller), 5-87 (Rossouw), 6-106 (Khushdil)
BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-29-0, Zaman 3-0-23-1 (3w), Haris 4-0-30-1, Wiese 3-0-26-0 (1w), Rashid 4-0-15-3, Raza 1-0-10-1, Hussain 1-0-22-1 (2w).
RESULT: Lahore Qalandars won by 21 runs.
Current Standings (Tabulated under: teams, matches, won, lost, points, net run-rate)
Lahore 7 6 1 12 +1.321
Multan 7 4 3 8 +0.568
Islamabad 6 4 2 8 -0.184
Peshawar 6 3 3 6 -0.896
Karachi 8 2 6 4 +0.437
Quetta 6 1 5 2 -1.768
Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2023
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