The Lahore Qalandars beat the Karachi Kings by 7 runs at Sharjah. Here is the full commentary and scorecard.
This might have just been Kumar Sangakkara’s best knock after his international retirement but it was not enough to fight the Qalandars top heavy batting and bowling line-up. Even though it was an entertaining game for the viewers, Baz McCullum might have wanted his team to win with a larger margin as the lose for the Kings looked narrower than it actually was. Mickey Arthur and Sanga once again trusted Chris Gayle and left out Mahela Jayawardene but as usual their gamble did not pay off as he was gone in the second over of the chase by Sunil Narine. However, Sanga and Shoaib Malik did steady the Kings boat with their 101 run 3rd wicket partnership but when they perished, 5 balls within each other, the chase just lost all momentum and the game was out of the hand of the Kings.
McCullum’s bad season in the HBL PSL continued as he dragged a straight ball on to his off stump by Imad Wasim as he bagged his second duck of the tournament. However, no one really noticed how their captain was sent back and Fakhar Zaman and Jason Roy kept swinging to get 57 runs in the powerplay. Once again, Zaman demonstrated that he is an independent player and the loss of his partner Roy did not affect his batting at all and he and Umar Akmal kept swinging with their bottom hands. The Kings were also to blame for the pair’s destructive batting as they could have sent them back earlier but the catches were dropped. At the end of the 13th over, the Qalandars were cruising at 125 for 4 and looked like they would cross 200 easily. They could not manage that but 179 looked like the right total to defend for them.
A slow start in white ball cricket is never good for your end score but in T20 cricket and chasing 180, it can completely take the game away from you and that is what happened. Gayle once again looked like a disturbed character in his 7 ball stay at the crease and Babar Azam played a rare lazy shot to gift a catch to 3rd man. Sanga began with this elegant and majestic batting but with Malik at the other end not doing much, the Kings only managed 60 runs in the first 9 overs. The chase came to life when the poor bowled over from Billawal Bhatti came at the end of the 10th and 53 runs coming from the next 4 overs but the asking rate never really came down to the point where the Kings would have less or no scoreboard pressure and the captain was sent back playing high risk cricket which was the only option with a high required run rate.
Sunil Narine has made his money worth until now in the PSL as he had shown his worth with the bat and especially with the ball. He was the most unplayable bowling with no Kings’ batsman picking him. Every time the ball was given to Narine, the Qalandars never fell behind the men and blue and with him grabbing the wickets of Gayle and Pollard to was inevitable that the Kings were not going to go anywhere. Even his normal offspinner could do magic as it knocked Pollard’s off-stump out the ground.
We saw 2 ends of the scale in the fielding of both teams. Where the Qalandars were particularly energetic as they took their catches and hit the stumps on a regular basis, the Kings were sloppy as they could not stop ones being turning into twos and dropped catches that made the win for the Qalandars even easier. The Kings will have to do much better if they want to get of the bottom of the table.
Even with the loss, the Kings will still know that their experienced men are scoring runs, e.g. the century stand of the 3rd wicket between Malik and Sanga. Sanga was absolutely amazing with his patented cover drives to Yasir Shah on consecutive balls. Sanga might not be a power player but he is and I repeat he is a player with grace and delight.
The Qalandars roller coaster of a season continues as the men in green and black have 2 win but 2 losses under their belt. They also have 4 points in the bag as they sit at 4th in the table with a lower net run-rate. Karachi still need to get a win in their three games.
The Cornered Tiger