Fakhar, Shaheen shine in Lahore Qalandars’ win

LAHORE QALANDARS 241- 3, 20 overs (Fakhar Zaman 96, Abdullah Shafique 75, Sam Billings 47*; Wahab Riaz 2-45) beat PESHAWAR ZALMI 201-9, 20 overs (Tom Kohler-Cadmore 55, Saim Ayub 51; Shaheen Afridi 5-40, Zaman Khan 2-28) by 40 runs

LAHORE         -        Brilliant batting by opener Fakhar Zaman and superb bowling by captain Shaheen Shah Afridi steered Lahore Qalandars to a thumping 40-run win over Peshawar Zalmi in the 15th match of the HBL PSL 8 here at iconic Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday night. Lahore Qalandars’ decision to bat first paid dividend as they posted their highest PSL score (241-3 in 20 overs), and then succeeded in restricting Peshawar Zalmi to 201 runs in 20 overs.

Fakhar Zaman was hero of the day from the home side with his sparkling 96 runs while Captain Shaheen Shah Afridi recorded a five-wicket haul. Shaheen provided superb start to Qalandars as he took the wicket of Muhammad Haris on the very second ball with a perfect yorker and then bowled Babar Azam in the third over.

These two early wickets took away the realistic chances of the run chase for Peshawar Zalmi. But Saim Ayub’s 34-ball 51 – studded with seven fours and two sixes – and Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s 55 off 23, included five sixes and three fours, were good enough to amuse the jam-packed crowd. Saim and Kohler-Cadmore added 91 for the third wicket before the latter was removed by Haris Rauf in the 11th over. Saim Ayub fell in the next over to Rashid Khan.

Three overs later, Zaman Khan dismissed Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24 off 14 balls), and bowled Rovman Powell. After that, Shaheen stole the show as first he took the scalp of Wahab in the 17th over and then removed Saad Masood and Jimmy Neesham in the 19th over. Peshawar Zalmi could score 201-9 in 20 overs. Earlier batting first, Qalandars piled up a total of 241-3 in 20 overs, thanks to brilliant batting by opener Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique and Sam Billings. Abdullah made 75 off 41 with the help of five sixes and as many boundaries.

Fakhar smashed 10 sixes – the joint-second most in an PSL innings – in the 45 balls he played, along with three fours to gather 96 runs while Sam Billings remained unbeaten for 47 off 23 balls. Wahab Riaz bagged 2-45 and Rovman Powell 1-37. Lahore Qalandars now have three wins from four matches. They will take on Islamabad United today (Monday) night. Peshawar Zalmi – who have lost three matches and won two – will travel to Rawalpindi to play Karachi Kings on March 1.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at azharmasood786@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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