close
Tuesday April 23, 2024

Islamabad whip Qalandars in opener

Lahore Qalandars, despite having a fighting total of 195 runs for five, saw Islamabad United achieve 200 for two, with 10 balls to spare

By Asher Butt
February 18, 2024
Lahore Qalandar Shabzida Farhan plays a shot during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match between Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium on February 17, 2024. — Online
Lahore Qalandar Shabzida Farhan plays a shot during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match between Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium on February 17, 2024. — Online

LAHORE: Inaugural league champions Islamabad United were off to a flying start with an eight-wicket triumph in the opening match of the Pakistan Super League 2024 (PSL-2024) against the defending champions Lahore Qalandars here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday night.

Lahore Qalandars, despite having a fighting total of 195 runs for five, saw Islamabad United achieve 200 for two, with 10 balls to spare. Captain Shadab Khan and Salman Agha developed a match winning 138 runs partnership for the third wicket to ensure their team reach home untroubled.

In the next encounter of Season-9, it’s a doubleheader Sunday as Peshawar Zalmi will take on Quetta Gladiators at the same venue in the afternoon while Multan Sultans face Karachi Kings at the Multan Stadium in the evening.

Islamabad United, which also won the league in 2018, in chase of the total began with caution as their openers Colin Munro and Alex Hales played patiently. Despite tight bowling from Lahore, they did find a couple of boundaries but in the beginning their efforts were not enough to peg United’s authority.

Host skipper Shaheen Shah maintained an order in his opening spell of two overs conceding just six runs while his partner Zaman Khan though gave 33 runs in his first three overs, he was successful in breaking the opening pair. He trapped Munro leg before for just five runs and United’s 41. Even Hales on the other end despite having runs under his belt was also not given a free hand. When at 36 in the 8th over, Salman Fayyaz caught and bowled him, leaving Shadab Khan behind for Islamabad.

As Agha Salman walked in to join his captain, Shadab paced up the score to have Islamabad hundred up in the 11th over with eight wickets behind. They even completed their third wicket 50 in 25 balls and then managed 150 in 14.4 overs, tilting the equilibrium in Islamabad’s favour.

Dropped at 40 off David Weise, Shadab led his team to a comfortable victory with an unbeaten 74, which was his 10th half century while he was ably supported by Salman Agha with his third half century of career as he also remained not out at 64. Shadab timed five sixes and six four while Salman punctuated seven fours and three sixes to make Lahore total small. Zaman Khan and Salman Khan were the only wicket-takers from the Lahore attack.

Lahore Qalandars had a steady start to their innings with their openers Sahibzada Farhan and Fakhar Zaman knitting together 67 runs before the latter became the first victim of Shadab Khan at 13. But Farhan kept the score going, reaching his first half century in 29 balls. With addition of another seven runs, he was out off Tymal Mills at his personal 57 and team’s 89 in 102 overs. He clobbered eight fours and a six. As Farhan shone with his fifty, Rassie van der Dussen was star of Lahore for his unbeaten innings.

Dussen, who walked in after Fakhar departure, was joined in by Abdullah Shafique. The Qalandars’ score, which was 102 in 12 overs, 113 in 13, 120 in 14, suddenly swelled to 142 in the 15th, thanks to 22 runs conceded by Faheem Ashraf. In that over, Dussen hit two sixes and Shafique one. That smacking continued until Mills was brought back to bowling, which broke Dussen-Shafique partnership. But their togetherness at the third wicket of 73 runs added stability to Qalandars score.

Shafique, however, made 22 balls 28. But with Dussen still at the crease, David Wiese came in to smack 14 runs with the help of a six and a four in eight balls to take the score to 178 for four. Naseem shrunk Qalandar’s batting line but that was in the 19th over.

Dussen and Qalandars’ skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi batted out the last over to add 17 runs to the total. Shaheen, however, got run out on the final delivery and Dussen remained not out at 71 that came in 41 balls. Dussen provided spine to Lahore total with his career’s 8th half century which came in 31 balls. With Mills having snared two wickets, Shadab and Naseem shared one wicket each.

Islamabad United won the toss and decided to field with three foreign players in their first eleven, two coming up in the order in Colin Munro and Alex Hales, and Tymal Mills all the way down. Similarly, the Qalandars who don’t have Sikandar Raza available to them, as he’s playing the ILT20 final while Rashid Khan also unavailable, so there was a bit of a spin gap in their lineup. But they also have three overseas starters, with Rassie van der Dussen, Lorcan Tucker, and, of course, David Wiese in the starting line-up.