The Peshawar Zalmi beat the Lahore Qalandars by 3 wickets. Here is the full scorecard and commentary.
The Zalmi somehow got through the spin attack from Yasir Shah and Sunil Narine to just limp over the finishing line as we witnessed probably the greatest contest in T20 history; one of the best low scoring thrillers. The Zalmi fell into a hole which they finally got out of, just, as they went from 47 for 3 to 51 for 7. The chase looked like it would take the Zalmi by the most 10 overs but it went on to 17 overs and if the Qalandars had even 20 more runs, they would have won the contest. The win came by a 8th wicket partnership between Chris Jordan and Wahab Riaz which was worth only 9 runs but it was a match-winner.
Never have teams lost a match before the match is even started but on this occasion the Qalandars’ captain had said 2 days earlier that he would rather see a batsman being LBW or caught on the boundary than being too timid and that is what happened in Dubai in the 6th match. Many analysts said that their approach was too aggressive and sometimes it could work but this time it wasn’t their day.
A good team always follows what the captain says and that is what the Qalandars did. They came and swung from the first balls as they fell to 9 for 3 in 2 overs. Inside the first 4 overs, they fell into a hole of 27 for 4 and never really showed a way of getting out. Their approach did not work this day as they fell to the lowest score ever in PSL history – 59. However, the Qalandars can take many positives from this loss like how their bowlers reacted in pressure situations as well as the aggressive captaincy of Baz McCullum making the Zalmi sweat in winter.
You might say that the Zalmi probably did something extraordinary when they bowled such a heavy batting side out for 59 but they really did not. They simply did the basics and waited the Qalandars’ batsmen to make mistakes and they sure hell made a lot. No batsmen learned from their prior team-mate getting out as they didn’t look like a team in their batting innings (however they did come together in the 2nd innings). Although, Zalmi were exceptional in the field with accurate throws and no fumbles at all.
Eoin Morgan found himself settling the nerves of the Zalmi dugout and fans once again as he hit a 23 off 26 balls to get them close to victory. We’ve always seen the attacking side of Morgan in the T20 format but today he showed why he is such a valuable asset to any team at any given moment of the match. He was wrongly given out by umpire Aleem Dar when he was caught at short leg as the umpire judged there was bat on the ball but the reply showed there was only pad visible.
Yasir bowled accurate, effective and fearless leg-spin bowling to make the Zalmi work hard for every single one of those runs. It is great to know for the Qalandars that their player got the man of the match award even when they were bowled out for just 59. Yasir ended with figures of 4 overs 7 runs and 4 wicket. Some credit also goes to the captaincy of Baz of how his field positioning and attacking field in T20 cricket worked.
With team being bowled out for 59 and the opponent barely chasing it in 17 overs there were many moments of the match but the one that really stuck out to fans and teams alike was the runout of Sohail Khan when he desperately ran for only a single that went straight to Jordan at mid wicket without sliding his bat or even running in a straight line. The team was falling at 53 for 6 at that moment and that was really not needed.
The Zalmi are now at the top of the table with 4 points being tied with the Gladiators but with a better net run-rate, although the Gladiators have played one game less. The Qalandars with one win from their three matches sit at number 3 equal with United but just ahead on net run-rate and the Kings still slummed at the bottom of the table.
The Cornered Tiger