Qalandars finally emerge victorious

By our correspondent
RAWALPINDI: Lahore Qalandars finally secured their first win of HBL PSL 9 as they defended a competitive total against home-side Islamabad United at Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi on Wednesday night. After posting 162 on the board, courtesy of a half-century by Rassie van der Dussen, the Shaheen Shah Afridi-led attack put up a lethal bowling performance to dismiss Islamabad United for 145 runs.

After being put to bat first, Lahore Qalandars posted 162-7 on the board in the first innings despite struggling with the regular fall of wickets. Naseem Shah backed up his maiden opening over in the previous game with another one today as Sahibzada Farhan failed to get off the mark in the first over.

In the fourth over, Hunain Shah reaped benefit of the pressure mounted on the Lahore opening pair in the previous over by Naseem as Farhan (2, 12b) was caught by Faheem Ashraf at deep backward point.

In the next over, Fakhar Zaman too departed after arun aball 10, including one boundary, when Colin Munro pouched a stunning catch at the rope while fielding at deep backward square. Shai Hope, batting at four, could only manage six off nine before he was caught by Jordan Cox to award Imad Wasim a wicket in the seventh over.

With the team struggling at 30-3 in 6.4 overs, captain Shaheen Shah Afridi walked in to bat next in an attempt to arrest the imminent collapse . Shaheen joined Rassie van der Dussen in the middle to produce a vital 25-ball fourth-wicket partnership that yielded 46 runs.

Shaheen smashed two sixes against Salman Ali Agha in the eighth over, announcing his arrival at the crease. Over the next three overs, Shaheen hit a maximum each until Shadab Khan removed his counterpart in the 11th over. The Lahore captain had to return for a quickfire 30 off 14 balls, showcasing four maximums.

Sikandar Raza made just four off 10 before Azam Khan took an impressive catch to dismiss him. In the 16th over, Faheem conceded 17 runs courtesy of two sixes and a boundary. In the following over, van der Dussen (64, 44, 4x4s, 4x6s) brought up his half-century with a six.

Ahsan Hafeez Bhatti (13, 8b, 1×6) was caught by Munro off Naseem to bring David Wiese to the crease. The seventh-wicket stand between Weise and van der Dussen yielded 31 off 15 to help Lahore get to a satisfactory total until the latter fell to Rumman in the penultimate over.

Rumman picked up two wickets while Hunain, Naseem, Imad, Faheem and Shadab had one each.

In return, Qalandars bagged five wickets inside the powerplay to mount pressure on the home side in their pursuit of 163. Jahandad took a brilliant catch while running back to long-on to dismiss Alex Hales for a two-ball duck, awarding Shaheen a first-over wicket.

In the next over, Salman (4, 3b, 1×4) was caught behind off Zaman’s bowling. In the fifth over, Zaman shattered Shadab’s stumps courtesy of a lethal Yorker that breached his defenses.

The last over of the powerplay saw Munro (15, 16b, 2x4s) being run out after Jahandad perfected the throw to the keeper, who removed the bails with the batter still shy of the crease. Imad Wasim, the next batter in, hit a four on his first ball but was caught at slips by substitute fielder Abdullah Shafique on the very next ball.

Jahandad, introduced to the attack after the powerplay, backed up his earlier performance in the field with a caught and bowled to dismiss Jordan Cox (7, 7b, 1×4) as United fell deeper in trouble with the scoreboard reading 39-6 in 7 overs.

Faheem Ashraf and Azam Khan (29, 19b, 3x4s, 2x6s) stitched a 35-run seventh-wicket partnership until the latter was dismissed by Ahsan. Naseem joined Faheem in the middle and the two batted together to add 42 to the total; the highest partnership for Islamabad in the innings.

In the 16th over, Naseem (27, 16b, 2x4s, 2x6s) hit Shaheen for two consecutive sixes. Immediately after, Shaheen got his revenge as he castled his stumps to bag his 100th HBL PSL wicket – becoming the youngest and the fastest player to achieve the milestone.

Zaman picked up the last two wickets, removing Hunain and Rumman, to dismiss United for 145 in the penultimate over, with Faheem stranded on one end at an unbeaten 41 off 31, with four boundaries and a six.

Zaman accounted for four wickets, Shaheen picked up two while Ahsan, Jahandad and Wiese had one each to their name as Lahore won by 17 runs.

Scores in brief:

Lahore Qalandars beat Islamabad United by 17 runs

Lahore Qalandars 162-7, 20 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 64, Shaheen Shah Afridi 30, David Weise 24 not out; Rumman Raees 2-19)

Islamabad United 145 all out, 18.5 overs (Faheem Ashraf 41 not out, Azam Khan 29, Naseem Shah 27; Zaman Khan 4-37, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-32)

Player of the match – Rassie van der Dussen (Lahore Qalandars)

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