HBL PSL 2024: Pollard stars as Kings keep Qalandars winless

Published February 25, 2024
KARACHI Kings batter Kieron Pollard plays a lofted shot as Lahore Qalandars wicket-keeper Shai Hope looks on during their match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday.—Murtaza Ali/White Star
KARACHI Kings batter Kieron Pollard plays a lofted shot as Lahore Qalandars wicket-keeper Shai Hope looks on during their match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday.—Murtaza Ali/White Star

LAHORE: The game seemed to be in the bag for Lahore Qalandars, a partisan home crowd at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday cheering them on for a long awaited first victory of this HBL Pakistan Super League season, only for the Karachi Kings to brutally snatch it away at the death.

When Mir Hamza’s edge off the last ball flew past the wicket-keeper for four, it was gloom again for the two-time defending champions. They have now gone four games without a win; their grip on the title slipping with every game.

In yet another dramatic finale, the Kings needed 11 runs off the last over and after Hasan Ali smashed spinner Ahsan Bhatti, an enforced choice after all of Qalandars pacers had bowled their quota, for a six on the first ball, the scales tipped in their favour.

Although Hasan departed on the penultimate delivery, caught by an onrushing Haris Rauf, who hurt himself in the process, Hamza knocked off the winning runs to make it two wins in three for his side.

In a game where momentum switched from one side to the other, an unbeaten 72 by opener Sahibzada Farhan had helped the Qalandars post 175-8 and they were on their way to ending their losing run when they reduced the Kings to 44-4.

But a 95-run stand between Kieron Pollard (58 off 33) and Shoaib Malik (39) brought the Kings back into the contest, laying the platform for their eventual win.

The Kings elected to bowl after winning the toss and the move paid dividends when Hamza removed dangerman Fakhar Zaman with

the first ball of the third over; the left-hander skying him to Shan Masood who ran back from mid-on to pouch it.

The Qalandars, and Farhan, made a slow start and although Rassie van der Dussen hit three fours, they rea­ched the end of the powerplay, where the Kings used five bowlers, at 32-1.

The spinners dried up the boundaries and the Kings got their reward when Tabraiz Shamsi trapped Van der Dussen lbw for 26.

With Qalandars’ run rate less than run-a-ball Ahsan’s attempt to raise the tempo saw him hit Hasan straight to Kieron Pollard and only thanks to Farhan’s first four, they reach the midway stage at 59-3.

Jahandad Khan (12) smashed the first six of the innings off the first ball of the 11th over, lifting Shamsi over long-on and then enjoyed a lucky escape after being adjudged lbw when a review found that the South African leggie had overstepped.

Farhan got on the act when he hit Daniel Sams for a four and a six on the legside in the 12th over. He then exquisitely changed the face of his blade, initially appearing to hit a paddle shot, to get four at third man.

But the burgeoning partnership, which had yielded 36, was broken when Pollard plucked the ball one-handed on the long-on boundary to see the end of Jahandad.Shah Hope (21) got two lives on two balls; first dropped by Sams, who was running in from point, before Nawaz failed to hold onto a sharp return. He celebrated his survival by hitting Shamsi for consecutive fours and a towering six before holing to Malik at long-on.

With Qalandars going into the final five overs at 114-5, Farhan didn’t let the momentum drop and launched Hasan for six over deep mid-wicket but he kept losing partners with Sikandar Raza departing first ball.

He reached his fifty off 35 balls by slamming Sams for six and George Linde finished the 17th over by clubbing a four down the ground. Farhan hit a Hazma full toss back where it came from for his fourth six to start the 18th, in which he got another four down the ground.

Hasan gave away just six runs in the penultimate over, but Linde (26 not out) ensured Qalandars finished strongly; hitting two fours and a six off the last over bowled by Sams to lift the m them to a challenging total.

Farhan effected the first breakthrough for his side, reacting quickly at short cover to hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end where Shan (10) was well short after being turned back by Akhlaq.

James Vince got two boundaries on the first three balls he faced but perished on the fourth, left-arm spinner Ahsan clattering his stumps as the Englishman attempted to cut.

The Kings were in dire straits, reduced to 27-3, with Jahandad having Akhlaq caught behind; the decision review system finding the edge.

Mohammad Nawaz (15) flickered briefly; hitting three well-timed and well-placed fours, including two off Zaman Khan before the pacer castled him with a searing yorker at the end of the sixth over.

Pollard heaved Linde for a six each in successive overs by the spinner with the West Indian and Malik keeping the scoreboard ticking to take the Kings to 79-4 by the end of the 10th over.

The longer the experienced duo was at the crease, the longer the Kings had hope and after they had taken the total to 109-4 at the end of the 14th over, Pollard cut loose. Jahandad was driven down the ground for four before being hit for consecutive sixes; the second of them one-handed over long-on as Pollard reached his half-century off 29 balls.

With 47 required from the last five, Pollard deposited Shaheen Shah Afridi for six over long-on to start the 16th over but the Qalandars skipper revived his side’s hopes by getting the burly right-hander caught in the covers.

The home crowd found its voice and they were celebrating again when Shaheen pouched Malik of Haris Rauf, who turned a corner after going for runs aplenty in previous matches.

Zaman turned up the volume by cleaning up Sams with a pinpoint yorker but after the pacer was turned away for four by Irfan Khan, the Kings stull had hope. Hasan’s six set it up for them and despite his dismissal off the last ball, Hamza finished off the Qalandars.

Scoreboard

LAHORE QALANDARS:

Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Sahibzada Farhan not out 72 45 4 4 160.00

Fakhar Zaman c Shan b Hamza 6 9 1 0 66.66

Rassie van der Dussen lbw b Shamsi 26 23 3 0 113.04

Ahsan Hafeez c Pollard b Hasan 8 8 1 0 100.00

Jahandad Khan c Pollard b Hamza 12 9 0 1 133.33

Shai Hope c Malik b Shamsi 21 13 2 1 161.53

Sikandar Raza c Shamsi b Hasan 0 1 0 0 0.00

George Linde not out 26 13 3 1 200.00

EXTRAS (LB-1, NB-1, W-2) 4

TOTAL (for six wickets, 20 overs) 175

DID NOT BAT: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-9 (Fakhar), 2-45 (van der Dussen), 3-54 (Ahsan), 4-90 (Jahandad), 5-114 (Hope), 6-121 (Raza)

BOWLING: Hamza 4-0-31-2, Malik 1-0-4-0, Nawaz 3-0-16-0 (1w), Hasan 4-0-29-2, Sams 4-0-52-0, Shamsi 4-0-42-2 (1w, 1nb)

KARACHI KINGS:

Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Shan Masood run out (Farhan) 10 9 2 0 111.11

Mohammad Akhlaq c Hope b Jahandad 7 10 1 0 70.00

James Vince b Ahsan 8 4 2 0 200.00

Shoaib Malik c Shaheen b Haris 39 32 3 0 121.87

Mohammad Nawaz b Zaman 15 10 3 0 150.00

Kieron Pollard c van der Dussen b Shaheen 58 33 1 5 175.75

Daniel Sams b Zaman 7 6 1 0 116.66

Irfan Khan not out 13 10 1 0 130.00

Hasan Ali c Haris b Ahsan 9 5 0 1 180.00

Mir Hamza not out 1 1 0 0 100.00

EXTRAS (LB-6, W-3) 9

TOTAL (for eight wickets, 20 overs) 176

DID NOT BAT: Tabraiz Shamsi

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-19 (Shan), 2-27 (Vince), 3-27 (Akhlaq), 4-44 (Nawaz), 5-139 (Pollard), 6-143 (Malik), 7-158 (Sams), 8-175 (Hasan)

BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-35-1 (1w), Zaman 4-0-25-2 (1w), Ahsan 2-0-19-2, Jahandad 4-0-44-1, Linde 2-0-25-0, Haris 4-0-22-1 (1w)

RESULT: Karachi Kings won by two wickets.

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Kieron Pollard

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2024

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