PSL-8: Fakhar, pacers power Qalandars to victory over Sultans

PSL-8: Fakhar, pacers power Qalandars to victory over Sultans


Rizwan blistering knock goes in vain

MULTAN (Web Desk) – Fakhar Zaman’s blistering 42-ball 66 and pacers’ incredible bowling powered the defending champions, Lahore Qalandars to victory by one run in the first match of the eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Multan Cricket Stadium on Monday night.

Chasing a target of 176, Sultans openers Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood were giving the Qalandars bowlers no room to work with until part-timer Hussain Talat provided the breakthrough by sending Shan Masood to the pavilion after the latter scored 31-ball 35, studded with four boundaries.

But skipper Mohammad Rizwan kept the moment for his team and looked ferocious for his 50-ball 75. It was his counterpart, Shaheen Shah Afridi, who got the better of him.

It was only David Miller (25 off 20 deliveries) and Kieron Pollard (20 off 12) – with the exception of Shan and Rizwan – who showed some fight.

Khushdil Shah and Akeal Hosein remained unbeaten at 12 and 0, respectively. Usman Khan and Usama Mir made their way back to the pavilion without troubling the scorecard.

For Qalandars, Shaheen Shah Afridi (1-27), Haris Rauf (1-37), Zaman Khan (1-29), and Hussain Talat (1-16) took a scalp each.

Earlier for Lahore Qalandars, Fakhar Zaman and debutant Mirza Baig opened innings. Both of them managed to provide the Qalandars, a solid platform by putting a brilliant partnership of 61. Mirza Baig was removed by Akeal Hosein and he scored 26-ball 32, studded with five boundaries.

Later, Zaman was joined by Shai Hope who was perished on 17-ball 19, smoking a four and a sixer. Kamran Ghulam only scored 6-ball 3 and was undone by Ihsanullah.

Fakhar Zaman played a special knock for his side and amassed 42-ball 66 and he clobbered three boundaries and five sixes.

It was the cameos of Zimbabwean cricketer Sikandar Raza (19 off 14 deliveries) and Hussain Talat (20 off 12) that helped the Qalandars to set a formidable total. David Wiese could only score 4-ball 5.

For Multan Sultans, Usama Mir (2-25) and Ihsanullah (2-37) bagged two wickets each. While, Akeal Hosein (1-31) and Shahnawaz Dahani (1-40) took a wicket apiece.

Earlier, Multan Sultans won the toss and elected to field first against the Lahore Qalandars in the first match of the eighth edition of the PSL.

A star-studded ceremony marked the beginning of the PSL eighth edition, having breathtaking national anthem in the voice of noted singer Aima Baig.

The glitz and glamour besides fireworks captivated the audience at the Multan Cricket Stadium and have been arranged to present country's soft image the world over.

Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) management committee chairman Najam Sethi shared his thoughts on the mega event. Mr Sethi began his speech by asking Multan fans who they thought would win today's match: Multan or Lahore. He then spoke about Lahore Qalandars' skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi and Multan Sultans captain Mohammad Rizwan.

Mr Sethi said, "The PSL journey started in the UAE. Next time, we will move to Quetta, Peshawar."

Mr Sethi emphasised the importance of the premium tournament, saying, "The PSL has gifted us players like Shaheen Shah Afridi." He said all of the players were owned by the country and that "Lahore remains in his heart, and Multan is in his heart."

After Mr Sethi’s speech, singer and composer Sahir Ali Bagga came to fascinate the fans with his soothing voice and sang his iconic songs including "O Rangreza." He was later joined by Ms Baig to sing their famous number, "Baazi." He also sang "Dil Ki Awaz."

Then it was all about the performance of the singers featured in this year’s anthem – Shae Gill, Asim Azhar and Faris Shafi. Towards the end of the ceremony, a display of fireworks lit the sky.