LAHORE: The pitch at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Wednesday was tailor-made for the Lahore Qalandars — considered the best bowling unit of the HBL Pakistan Super League. There was movement, bounce and carry, all that the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf would ask for.
But it were the Multan Sultans who made the most of the surface in the league’s Qualifier. After the Sultans batters had put up what eventually proved to be a mature show with the bat to post 160-5 on the board, the Qalandars responded poorly.
Having no answers to brilliant bowling by the Sultans, the side was bundled out for just 76 runs, as the Sultans sealed an 84-run win and a spot in Sunday’s final.
The Qalandars will have their second bite at the cherry when they face the winners of the first Eliminator between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in the second Eliminator on Friday.
Lahore stuttered from the very start as the Sultans’ pacers made early inroads. After pacer Sheldon Cottrell forced an edge off Tahir Baig’s bat for the opener to get caught behind and seamed the ball sharply back into the incoming Abdullah Shafique to trap him lbw, Anwar Ali castled Fakhar Zaman with an in-swinger.
Qalandars captain Shaheen promoted himself up the order once again, only to chip a full toss by Cottrell to find Usman Khan at the cover, leaving the home side reeling at 33-4 by the end of the powerplay.
Hussain Talat and Sam Billings tried to give the Qalandars stability for the next three overs, but all the duo did was just delaying further damage before the former was run out and the incoming Sikandar Raza was caught in the infield off Kieran Pollard in the 10th over, leaving Qalandars in absolute tatters.
Soon after, Billings became pacer Ihsanullah’s first and Sultans’ seventh victim as the Englishman holed out to Cottrell at deep square leg and Rashid Khan followed as he got stumped off Usama Mir’s leg-spin.
Runs started coming for the Qalandars a bit too late when Haris dispatched Ihsanullah for a six and two fours after David Wiese had slashed Usama through point for a boundary.
The tall South African thumped Usama over square-leg for another six in the 14th over but the party was over for him when the spinner trapped him lbw four balls later, effectively wrapping up the proceedings before Abbas Afridi sealed the game for the Sultans with Haris’ wicket.
“When your prime batter gets out early, that puts pressure on you,” Shaheen said after the match. “A good catch, a good run-out, can win you the match, and we missed opportunities towards the end of the innings there.
“I don’t think the conditions were poor, the ball was swinging nicely and Multan made great use of conditions at the start of our innings.”
Earlier, after the Sultans won the toss and opted to bat first, openers Mohammad Rizwan and Usman exercised caution against the new ball before the latter got going and found to find three boundaries off pacer Zaman Khan in the fifth over to boost his team to 46-0 by the end of the powerplay.
Multan failing to find boundaries in the next three overs eventually saw Usman improvise against Haris’ slower one in an attempt to break the shackles, only to see his stumps shattered
The incoming Rilee Rossouw took on Haris for a straight six over the quick’s head in the 10th over as Multan posted 70-1 at halfway stage. The South African, however, faltered in executing another big hit in the next over to become Zaman’s first wicket.
Rizwan followed three overs later, cleaned up by a googly by leg-spinner Rashid as the batter went for a heave through the leg-side.
Restricted to 97-3 runs by the end of the 15th over, Multan needed someone to up the ante to hope to post a formidable score. And it were Tim David and Pollard who assumed the responsibility.
After David whipped Zaman for a four and a six in the next over, Pollard clobbered Shaheen over midwicket for another six. David was handed a reprieve when Qalandars wicket-keeper Billings dropped him off Haris before Pollard hooked the right-hander for another maximum and slapped him straight down the ground for a boundary.
The penultimate over saw Pollard smash Shaheen for three sixes — bringing up his half-century in 31 balls with the second that he clubbed over long-on. The burly Trinidadian whipped the left-armer over a deep square-leg to add six more to the score.
Pollard’s (57 off 34) time at the crease was ended by Haris in the final over, which saw the pacer clean him up before castling Khushdil Shah on consecutive deliveries and concede only six runs.
“The ball was coming onto the bat early and we wanted to establish a platform,” said Multan captain Rizwan. “But the wicket looked double-paced, and we needed to navigate Lahore’s bowling carefully.
“We initially aimed for 170, but by the 15th over, we would also have taken 145-150. But Tim David and Kieron Pollard gave us a few extra runs.”
Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Usman Khan b Haris 29 28 4 0 103.57
Mohammad Rizwan b Rashid 33 29 3 0 113.79
Rilee Rossouw c Haris b Zaman 13 12 0 1 108.33
Kieron Pollard b Haris 57 34 1 6 167.64
Tim David not out 22 15 1 1 146.66
Khushdil Shah b Haris 0 1 0 0 0.00
Anwar Ali not out 1 1 0 0 100.00
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-4) 5
TOTAL (for five wickets, 20 overs) 160
DID NOT BAT: Usama Mir, Abbas Afridi, Sheldon Cottrell, Ihsanullah
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-53 (Usman), 2-70 (Rossouw), 3-90 (Rizwan), 4-155 (Pollard), 5-155 (Khushdil)
BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-47-0, Zaman 4-0-36-1 (3w), Wiese 4-0-24-0, Rashid 4-0-18-1, Haris 4-0-34-3 (1w)
Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Fakhar Zaman b Anwar 6 7 1 0 85.71
Mirza Tahir Baig c Rizwan b Cottrell 8 9 0 1 88.88
Abdullah Shafique lbw b Cottrell 0 2 0 0 0.00
Sam Billings c Cottrell b Ihsanullah 19 27 1 0 70.37
Shaheen Shah Afridi c Usman b Cottrell 0 2 0 0 0.00
Hussain Talat run out (Usman) 4 10 0 0 40.00
Sikandar Raza c Abbas b Pollard 1 3 0 0 33.33
David Wiese lbw b Usama 12 12 1 1 100.00
Rashid Khan st Rizwan b Usama 0 2 0 0 0.00
Haris Rauf c Rizwan b Abbas 15 13 2 1 115.38
Zaman Khan not out 0 1 0 0 0.00
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-1, NB-1, W-5) 11
TOTAL (all out, 14.3 overs) 76
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-15 (Tahir), 2-15 (Abdullah), 3-19 (Fakhar), 4-28 (Shaheen), 5-41 (Hussain), 6-43 (Raza), 7-49 (Billings), 8-50 (Rashid), 9-76 (Wiese)
BOWLING: Cottrell 3-0-20-3 (4w), Anwar 3-0-13-1, Abbas 2.3-0-5-1, Ihsanullah 3-1-18-1 (1nb), Pollard 1-0-3-1, Usama 2-0-12-2
RESULT: Multan Sultans won by 84 runs.
Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2023