Fakhar and Hafeez stars for Lahore Qalandars to crush Quetta Gladiators by nine wickets at National Stadium Karachi
Fearless efforts from Chris Gayle and Nawaz went in vain as Hafeez and Fakhar charged on Gladiators with heroic innings to wave the flag of Qalandars dominantly by nine wickets at National Stadium Karachi on Tuesday.
Chasing a huge target of 179 runs, Sohail Akhtar and Fakhar Zaman went into the groove mode straight away and made a brave start of the innings. The pair reached 48 runs at the end of power play without losing a wicket.
Gladiators were depending on Zahid Mehmood to provide them with the first breakthrough but Fakhar did not let him settle and charged him in his first over for back to back boundaries.
However, Zahid showed good control in his second over after dismissing the skipper, Akhtar on the wrong one that beat him and went straight into the wickets before he had scored 21.
With Lahore requiring 110 in the last overs, Fakhar and Hafeez decided to take on Zahid in his 3rd over when they mustered 13 runs. Fakhar led the charge when he completed his half-century on 31 balls.
As it is said that catches win matches, the rookie Saim Ayub proved the opposite of it after dropping an easy chance of the veteran all-rounder, Muhammad Hafeez when he was 24.
Gladiators paid the price of that dropped chance with the whole match as Hafeez hit on the accelerator button. He took charge for Qalandars and kept dealing in boundaries for his fifty which he completed in 24 balls.
“I believe this is something I’m working on in the last one and a half years, where I’m not trying to hit it hard, just time the ball and get power behind it. So that’s working for me. I need to work hard to get these things and I’m really happy it’s working for me at the moment,”said Hafeez in a post-match presentation.
Things went worse after Gladiator pacers could not break the partnership and the duo reached a 100 runs stand in only 54 balls.
The left-arm pacer, Usman Shinwari conceded 37 runs in the last two overs as Lahore continued to race towards the target. Fakhar Zaman remained unbeaten on 82 and the professor hit the winning boundary to remain unbeaten on 73 in a 115 runs stand to take Qalandars across the line.
Earlier, a sensible 101 runs stand between Chris Gayle and Sarfraz Ahmed helped Gladiators reach 178-6 in the allotted overs.
Qalandars while winning the toss and asking Gladiators to bat first got rewarded by the decision in the second over when Tom Banton top-edged to the third man for an easy catch off the bowling of Haris Rauf.
Gayle came next to bat and made his intentions clear after hitting a boundary on the first ball, Saim Ayub replacing Sarfraz with the opening pair could not go long after he tried to take on Shaheen Afridi but was caught at mid-on for 3.
‘No surprises, we lose the game’
It was demanded a lot from the skipper, Sarfraz, to come and perform a magical task. He struck Shaheen for two back to back boundaries in the oven.
It was not only Gladiators who dropped the chances but Qalandars also made the same mistakes again and again. It all started when Gayle was batting on 20 and dropped by Agha Salman on the deep which was an easy take.
Sarfraz and Gayle kept rotating the strike with at least a boundary in an over. It was a lucky day going for Gayle as he played the same shot and dropped by the same fielder on deep to get a second life.
Gayle used these dropped chances to keep the scoreboard moving and he reached his half-century in 32 balls. Sarfraz joined the party after sweeping the No 1 T20I bowler, Rashid Khan for four runs to complete the 100 runs stand between the pair.
Qalandars brought back the pacer, Haris Rauf who broke the partnership immediately after dismissing Safraz for 40, who top-edged for a skier and went straight into the hands of Ben Dunk.
Gladiators faced another blow in the next over after Rashid Khan clean bowled the Universal Boss on 68 with who injured his fingers at the start of the innings.
Azam Khan and Mohammad Nawaz were the new batsmen coming on to build on the innings from the platform set by Sarfraz and Gayle. Azam could not stand long and caught at long-on for 13 while serving the cause.
Nawaz went for the highest-rated bowler of PSL, Shaheen Afridi and smashed him two monstrous sixers. The left-handed batsman played a crucial knock of 33 (20) to take his side towards a competitive total in the given overs.
“Batting is well and good but bowling and fielding wins you matches. We were terrible in both departments and with no surprises, we lost the game. I batted well but I’ve been batting well in the nets. On a day like this that doesn’t matter,”said Sarfraz in a post-match presentation.
Lahore Qalandars Playing 11
Ben Dunk, Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Akhtar, Mohammad Hafeez, D Wiese, SR Patel, Agha Salman, Rashid Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Ahmed Daniel.
Quetta Gladiators Playing 11
Sarfraz Ahmed, Azam Khan, Chris Gayle, Tom Banton, Saim Ayub, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Anwar Ali, Usman Khan Shinwari, Zahid Mahmood.