The Lahore Qalandars have beaten Islamabad United by 6 wickets. Here is the full commentary and scorecard.
The Qalandars finally showed that they have learnt something from their 7 consecutive losses and what a stage to to show it against the defending champions. A slightly below-par score was made by the United, 159, and the foundation of the chase was set by the openers, Jason Roy and Brendon McCullum, who smashed 36 runs of the first 2 overs. Roy then set up a 71 run partnership with Umar Akmal (who stayed unbeaten until the end with 60) which took the victory for the Qalandars. Some late battery of boundaries from Sunil Narine strengthened the position of the Qalandars in the end.
The United started with a stern foundation as they raced to 73 for 1 in the first 9 overs. Grant Elliot struck with healthy blows for the Qalandars when he got Dwayne Smith and Sam Billings in his first over. Grant Elliot took 2 more wickets of Brad Haddin and Shane Watson to stop the United going any further with their total. He finished his 3 overs with 4 for 23. What a familiar time for Captain Crisis to come in. Misbah-ul-Haq once again took the fight to the opponents in the a time of crisis with his 61 off 36 balls and finished unbeaten. He was the anchor that kept the United in the game in the first innings as they posted 158 for 7 in their 20 overs. The Qalandari batsman absolutely hammered the United bowlers on a jaffa of a pitch for the batsman and even the experience of Misbah could not stop them.
With the United cruising at 73 without a loss of a wicket and Billings and Smith at the crease as well as Watson and Haddin to show their experience and class. We saw the familiar United team that chased down 190 2 nights before but the things that were to come, no one would have expected them. The former Gladiator medium pacer did what he did last season and snatched the wickets of the full quota of foreign players of the United. Bowling at a tight middle stump line, he did not allow the United big hitters to free their arms. This did not allow the United batsmen to put a significant total on the board.
In the Qalandars first match, Roy was set with 27 off 14 balls but threw his wicket away but he wasn’t going to let that happen twice. He hung around after McCullum fell and held the innings together. Umar Akmal pitched in with 35 off 26 balls with some beautiful and these tight innings set the centre stage for Narine to come in and show us some fireworks in the day.
United had a secret weapon in their team; well so they thought. Misbah asked a non-experienced 34 year old left arm spinner to bowl the opening over of the match to exploit the Dubai we know and love but that was not to be. McCullum took a liking to him and 21 runs were belted all around the park including 2 wides and some outrageous line and length choices. We was visible that Imran Khalid was nervous and that showed through his bowling.
United and the Qalandars have one win and one loss meaning that they sit on 2 point with the Kings still needing to open their account. The Gladiators and Zalmi are leading the pack at the top of the table.
The Cornered Tiger