LAHORE : Fans in Lahore could not have asked for a better match than what they were treated to on Sunday night as a terrific 96 by Fakhar Zaman, a sublime half-century from Abdullah Shafique and Shaheen Afridi’s scorching five-wicket powered Lahore Qalandars’ to a 40-run win over Peshawar Zalmi at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Lahore Qalandars posted their highest HBL PSL score as incredible knocks from Fakhar, Abdullah and Sam Billings propelled them to 241 for three, which is also the third best score in the tournament history for any team.
Abdullah’s first HBL PSL 8 outing turned out to be an exciting one as he made 75 off 41 with the help of five sixes and as many boundaries. He arrived in the middle when Wahab Riaz rattled Mirza Tahir Baig’s stumps in the second over. He played the role of aggressor in chief during his 120-run partnership with Fakhar Zaman.
But, when Abdullah fell in the 13th over, Fakhar unleashed his batting firepower and at times it seemed that the Peshawar Zalmi bowlers had nowhere to hide.
Fakhar smoked 10 sixes – the joint-second most in an HBL PSL innings – in the 45 balls he played, along with three fours. He was supported well by Sam Billings, who returned not out on 47 after playing 23 balls, as the two racked up 88 runs in just 30 balls, before Fakhar fell in the 18th over.
Shaheen produced a scintillating opening spell accounting for Mohammad Haris on the very second ball with a perfect yorker and striking Babar Azam’s middle stump in the third over. That fiery burst upfront took away the realistic chances of the run chase, but Saim Ayub’s 34-ball 51 – full of gorgeous-looking strokes as he struck seven fours and two sixes – and Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s defiant 55 off 23, which was studded with five sixes and three fours, made for fantastic viewing for the jam-packed crowd.
Saim and Kohler-Cadmore added 91 for the third wicket before the latter was removed by Haris Rauf in the 11th. Saim Ayub fell in the next over to Rashid Khan. Three overs later, Zaman Khan dimissed Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who holed out to deep long on off Zaman Khan after an exciting cameo of 24 from 14 balls, and bowled Rovman Powell.
From there on, it was Shaheen’s show as he first sent back Wahab in the 17th and removed Saad Masood and Jimmy Neesham in the 19th. Peshawar Zalmi finished on 201 for nine.
Lahore Qalandars now have three wins from four matches and host Islamabad United tomorrow night. Peshawar Zalmi – who have lost three matches and won two – travel to Rawalpindi to play Karachi Kings on 1 March.
Scores in brief:
Lahore Qalandars 241-3, 20 overs (Fakhar Zaman 96, Abdullah Shafique 75, Sam Billings 47 not out; Wahab Riaz 2-45)
Peshawar Zalmi 201-9, 20 overs (Tom Kohler-Cadmore 55, Saim Ayub 51, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 24, Rovman Powell 20; Shaheen Afridi 5-40, Zaman Khan 2-28)
Player of the match – Fakhar Zaman (Lahore Qalandars)
1900 – Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
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