By our correspondent
KARACHI: Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez hammered superb unbeaten fifties to shepherd Lahore Qalandars to their second successive win when they downed Quetta Gladiators by nine wickets in their second round fixture of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 here at National Stadium on Monday night.
Fakhar struck 82 off 52 balls while Hafeez, who also survived once, smacked an explosive knock of 73 off just 33 deliveries as Lahore chased the 179-run target with ten balls to spare after losing just one wicket.
The duo added 115 for the second wicket unbroken stand which came off 58 deliveries. This is also the record second-wicket stand of Qalandars in their entire PSL journey so far. Their previous best second-wicket stand was 96 between Fakhar and Chris Lynn against Zalmi last season at Lahore. Fakhar, who brought in his fifty off 31 balls, struck eight fours and two sixes in his excellent knock. This was also overall the eighth fifty from Fakhar in the PSL history.
Hafeez, whose fifty came off just 24 balls and his fastest in PSL, hammered six sixes and five fours in his entertaining knock. Hafeez’s straight strokes were worth-seeing. This was Hafeez’s seventh fifty in his PSL career.
Earlier Fakhar, who survived on 78, added 64 for the opening stand with his skipper Sohail Akhtar who fell for 26-ball 21 which featured three fours. Leggie Zahid Mahmood got 1-28 in three overs.
Earlier after being invited to bat a century partnership from Chris Gayle and Sarfraz Ahmad enabled Quetta Gladiators to pile-up 178-6.
Gayle, who survived thrice when on 12, 20 and 31, dazzled with the bat by smacking a superb 68 off 40 balls while Sarfraz samshed 33-ball 40 as the duo put on 101 runs off 68 balls for the third wicket association.
Haris Rauf eventually broke the dangerous partnership when he had Sarfraz, held by keeper Ben Dunk after covering some distance behind him. Sarfraz hit five fours in his 33-ball 40.
Leggie Rashid Khan then bowled Gayle in the next over to reduce Gladiators to 118-4 in the 15th over. Gayle, who brought in his 50 off 32 balls by smacking Rashid for a glorious six towards onside, hammered five sixes and five fours during his entertaining knock.
This was his 86th fifty in T20 cricket in his 413th game. Gayle hit rookie paceman Ahmed Daniyal for two huge sixes while he also smacked David Wiese, Haris and Rashid for one six each.
Daniyal then had Azam Khan for nine-ball 13 with one four before Haris clean bowled Ben Cutting (5) with a superb delivery that uprooted his stumps. Mohammad Nawaz in the end showed his class of being a hard-hitting batsman, scoring a breezy unbeaten 20-ball 33, hammering three sixes and one four that shepherded Quetta to a good total.
Earlier after being invited to bat, Quetta Gladiators received an early blow when Haris Rauf removed Tom Banton (4), held at the deep third man by Ahmed Daniyal. England’s young batsman faced eight balls.
In the next over Shaheen Afridi got rid of Saim Ayub (3) who offered an easy catch to Sohail Akhtar standing at mid-on position inside the circle. Saim had been promoted to open the innings as in the previous game Sarfraz had opened with Banton.
Quetta were 38-2 at the end of powerplay, their 50 came off 44 balls and 100 off 78 deliveries. Their 150 came in 109 deliveries.
Haris Rauf was the pick of the bowlers with 3-38 in his quota of four overs. Shaheen Afridi (1-43), Ahmed Daniyal (1-29) and Rashid Khan (1-30) were also among the wickets. This was the second successive defeat from Quetta. Fakhar was declared as man of the match. Earlier Lahore Qalandars brought in Haris Rauf in place of Salman Mirza.
Quetta Gladiators made two changes in their team which lost their opener against Karachi Kings. They brought in Anwar Ali and leggie Zahid Mahmood in place of Naseem Shah and Qais Ahmad of Afghanistan.