In the first game of the HBL Pakistan Super League 8, Lahore Qalandars’ pacers’ outstanding bowling in the dying stages launched their championship defence with a thrilling one-run victory over Multan Sultans.
The Multan Sultans needed 49 runs off the final five overs to win in front of their home fans at the Multan Cricket Stadium, and with Mohammad Rizwan and David Miller at the crease, they appeared to be headed in that direction.
However, Shaheen Shah Afridi produced a superb death spell, allowing only 16 runs in two overs (16th and 18th) and dismissing Rizwan with a slower one. The 17th inning only saw four runs from Haris Rauf, who also struck out Miller with a pitch-perfect yorker to begin the 19th.
In the penultimate over, experienced T20 player Kieron Pollard, who Multan Sultans had selected in the replacement draught, hammered Haris for a six and a four, adding 14 runs for his team and leaving only 15 runs to be chased in the final over.
Shaheen relied on right-arm fast bowler Zaman Khan, who had bowled remarkably effectively in the previous season, to defend 12 off the last over against Islamabad United.
Usama Mir was run out on the fourth ball, Pollard was run out while running for the second, the second ball was a full toss that thudded onto Usman Khan’s pad directly in front of stumps, the third ball was a full toss, and the fourth ball was a full toss that Khushdil Shah spanked for a four to reduce the equation to six off one but was unable to connect with the last ball, which sped away for four instead
Multan Sultans suffered their first home loss after winning all three of their games at this location in 2020. This was a team’s first-ever game at this location.
Shan Masood (35 off 31) and Rizwan, whose 75 off 50, which included eight fours and a six, was the highest score in the game and put a 100-run partnership, gave Multan Sultans a strong start in their run chase of 176.
The only wicket to fall before Rizwan was removed was Shan, who was caught off Hussain Talat at the 12.2 over mark. When Miller, who scored 24 off 20, hit David Wiese for four on the first ball of the 14th over, Lahore Qalandars succeeded in stopping the flow of boundaries after Multan Sultans had amassed 53 runs in the Powerplay. This put an end to a 28-ball stretch without a boundary.
After Rizwan, the Multan Sultans captain, made the decision to field after winning the toss, the opening duo of Fakhar Zaman, who became the only second batter in the HBL PSL to break the 2,000-run mark, and debutant Mirza Tahir Baig gave Lahore Qalandars a strong start. Before Tahir was defeated by Akael Hosein after scoring 32 off of 26 runs, the pair totalled 61 runs.
Fakhar, who amassed the most runs in the HBL PSL 7, seems to have resumed his form when playing for the Lahore Qalandars as he continued to score quickly and reached his 17th half-century of the competition in 32 balls. Along with Shai Hope, who scored 19 off of 17, he added 58 runs.
Best player in the game Fakhar continued on to knock five sixes and three fours in his 42-ball 66 before he holed out to deep square leg off Usama Mir on the first ball of the 16th over, becoming the second wicket to go in tandem. Usama, a leg-spinner, had earlier in the innings sent back Hope for his first wicket. Kamran Ghulam, who could only make three out of six deliveries, was removed by pacer Ihsanullah on the preceding delivery.
Sikander Raza, a Zimbabwean import for the Qalandars, made 19 not out off 14 while Hussain, who came in for a cameo in the bottom middle order, scored 20 off 12 runs. Ihsanullah removed Hussain in the penultimate over.
When he hit David Wiese’s pad in front of the stumps with the final ball of the innings, Shahnawaz Dahani secured his lone wicket.