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HBL PSL II Match 09 – Gladiators vs Zalmi

Hey Guys,

There was no result in the game that was going to be a thriller between the Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi. Here is the scorecard of the game that did happen as well as the commentary.

Continuous rain in Sharjah meant that only 16 overs were managed of the first innings as the top headers did not get to show their class to us. The Gladiators won the toss and continued with the theme of the PSL and sent the Zalmi into bat. There were no less than 3 interruptions in the Zalmi innings but Tamim Iqbal fought through it with an unbeaten 62 off 46 balls. The pitch was one of a typical Sub-continent wicket as anyone could come and have a ball and the ball would spin in their favour. Just like that, Rillee Rossouw came to ball for the first time in his T20 cricket career and had Eoin Morgan caught at first slip on his first ball!

Tamim Iqbal, who was making his first appearance of the season scored 62 off 46 balls an innings that included four sixes and as many fours.

Sarfaraz Ahmed showed his captaincy skills as he chose Zulfiqar Babar and Mohammed Nawaz to open the bowling. However, the Zalmi did get a bright start on a gloomy day before Professor Hafeez was caught trying to smash Mahmudullah Riyad over cow corner. Kamran Akmal once again did not retain his form from the first match and was gone without bothering the scorers and Rossouw bagged Morgan so the Zalmu had lost 3 wickets for 1 run.

Mohammad Hafeez started steadily but a 46 minute rain interruption triggered a collapse as three wickets fell for the addition of a single run, Zalmi lost Hafeez for 16, Kamran Akmal for a duck and Eoin Morgan for 1.

Then came Sohaib Maqsood who had not done anything special in the last couple of years but he aided Tamim well to get to 117 in their 16 overs. With the rain starting once again after that, the Gladiators had their target reduced 2 times but no cricket was possible as the rain was just not stopping.

Sohaib Maqsood scored 30 runs off 24 balls and rescued his team through a 75 run fourth-wicket partnership with Tamim Iqbal

On a pitch that was made for the spinners to thrive, the Gladiators let themselves down a lot as their spinners bowled short to Tamim and Maqsood for them to hit pressure relieving boundaries in the first 10 overs. Then they appeared to be all over the place after the 3rd rain break in the 12th over as the duo smashed 41 of 17 balls. Zulfiqar was the middle man in the failing of the spin bowling as he either bowled short balls or full tossess to just gift runs to Tamim.

When Kamran scored 88 in the first match of the PSL we thought that his position in the Pakistani team is certain but since then he has not really clicked. Open the record books because the two brothers have 4 ducks in the 7 matches with 2 each. As they wanted tog et back in the national side; that might not happen yet.

Sarfraz Ahmed decided to field first after winning the toss

The Gladiators and Zalmi both got a point from the abandoned match as they now have 5. Zalmi ahead with a better net run-rate.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

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HBL PSL II Match 08 – Qalandars vs Kings

Hey Guys,

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.

Mohammad Irfan celebrates his wicket

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.

For his well composed innings of 65 runs Kumar Sangakkara was declared coolets player of the match

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.

Qalandars set a target of 180 on a batting friendly pitch came within a whisker of overhauling the target courtesy a 101-run third wicket partnership between captain Kumar Sangakkara (65) and Shoaib Malik (39)

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.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

HBL PSL II Match 07 – United vs Gladiators

Hey Guys,

Islamabad United beat the Quetta Gladiators by 5 wickets. Here is the full commentary and scorecard.

An aggressive 78 runs from the United opener, Sam Billings, showed that even the best young left-arm spinners, Mohammed Nawaz and Hasan Khan, have their weaknesses and Billings exposed these as he kept United in the game during every turn and twist of the contest. He combined timing with power hitting (much like Sarfaraz and Rossouw from the Gladiators) to take the United over the line with ease.

Earlier in the day, the Gladiators managed a definite below par 148 at Sharjah thanks to the disciplined bowling by the men in orange. The PSL found another star in the making in the match named Shadab Khan who was difficult to read as he spun the ball both ways. However, it was not a one man show as every bowler showed why they were in the team of defending champions.

Mohammed Sami bowled in-swinging yorkers and being responsible for the second duck of the tournament for Kevin Pieterson. Shane Watson showed his pace and length variations as he was also hard to hit to the boundaries. The Gladiators coveted batting line-up never really got going as wickets well at regular intervals as their run rate was below 7 in the first 15 overs. Although Mahmudullah Riyad and Thisara Perera took the score to 148 with a late partnership. The score was competitive but it was not enough to defend against a chase led by Sam Billings.

Mohammad Sami took two wickets  and played a pivotal role in restricting the powerful Gladiators batting line-up.

As Ahmed Shahzad got under way with a quick start with KP and the match winning duo of Sarfaraz and Rossouw waiting in the dugout, the Gladiators were definitely looking for a score near or over 200. However, the fast duo of Mohammed Sami and Shane Watson used pace, accuracy, line and length to get the Gladiators of the road leading to 200 as Sami went through Shahzad and KP. Also, thanks to Shadab the Gladiators only got 56 runs in the last 10 overs with 4 wickets.

Billings found the gap regularly in the first 6 overs and cleared ropes with ease. He showed respect when respect was due as he took singles off the good balls but he never let the scoreboard to stop ticking over but when he did go, he did not think of who was bowling just where to send the ball next. Billings took a liking to Perera as he smashed 40 runs of his 3.1 overs. The average United strike rate was 100 while Billings was flying on 150.

Opener Asad Shafiq scored a fighting 45 off 42 balls but batsmen around him kept getting out, failing to convert their starts into anything substantial.

Earlier in the day while the Gladiators were batting, Rossouw came down the wicket to the young Shadab Khan while on 5 and missed the ball completely. A not so clean pick-up from the keeper, Brad Haddin, meant that he was safe for now. However, right in the next over Rossouw hit a ball down the throat of deep midwicket for 7. On the other end of the spectrum, the Gladiators also made a mistake in the field. When Watson joined Billings with the side at 73 for 3 and the Gladiators looking to expose their weaknesses, he edged Mohammed Nawaz to the keeper before even opening his account but the ball just popped out of the hands of Sarfaraz like it hadn’t even gone in. That was the moment that took the game away from the Gladiators as the duo of Watson and Billings took the game over the line for United.

In form batsman Rilee Rossouw (7) who had bailed his team out of trouble in the previous two games fell trying to clear the field

Even though Hasan Khan might have been on the losing side, he will never forget his spell in this match and that is the beauty of the PSL. While bowling to Pakistan’s most successful test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, he got hit for four with Misbah’s trademark sweep shot. Two balls later, Hasan bowled the same ball but this time he let it slide on with the arm and the captain of the orange team was too late with his sweep and was given out for 10 without making a huge impact on the game.

This victory for United means that Gladiators and them have won 2 out of their 3 games and have occupied the 2nd and 3rd position with the Gladiators ahead with a better net run-rate and the Zalmi at the top.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

 

HBL PSL II Match 06 – Zalmi vs Qalandars

Hey Guys,

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.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

 

 

 

HBL PSL II Match 05 – Gladiators vs Kings

Hey Guys,

The Quetta Gladiators have beaten the Lahore Qalandars by seven wickets. Here is the full scorecard and commentary.

A brilliant 4th wicket partnership between Rillee Rossouw and Sarfaraz Ahmed worth 130 runs was the 2nd highest in HBL PSL history. The pair found themselves together with the Gladiators in a sensitive spot of 30 for 3 in the 5th over. If any youngsters wanted to learn how to bat to win a match in any form of the game, this partnership was the model performance. They combined power hitting with composure as well as quick running between the wickets. They slowly took the game in their firsts and then never let go.

Against the Zalmi, Mohammed Amir was the pick of the bowlers but this time it was his opening partner, Sohail Khan, who bagged 3 early wickets to get the game into the hand of the Kings. He bowled a consistent length on off stump while also swinging the ball away from the right-handers. He sent Kevin Pieterson, Ahmed Shahzad and Asad Shafiq in the space of 4 balls and made it look like the Kings might just open their accounts in the tournament but it was not to be.

Earlier in the day, the Kings had started off with a slow run-rate as Chris Gayle once again failed to get a good start as he got out for a timid 11 and then Captain Kumar Sangakarra was caught for at extra cover for 25. After all that drama, the Kings were 87 for 3 at the end of the 14th over. The only reason that the Kings got to 159 was because of the poor death bowling from the Gladiators except Tymal Mills who got 2 wickets to slow down the run-rate just a bit.

Malik hit a six apiece while some lusty blows in the closing overs were chiefly responsible for taking the Kings to their eventual score.

The 4th wicket partnership was not deadly until a self-posed threat from the Kings took the game away from them. On the last ball of the 9th over, the Kings were penalised with a no-ball because they did not have enough fielders in the ring. This punished them more than just that no-ball as Rossouw smashed the free hit over midwicket for 6 and the decent was changed in one ball as it went for 19 runs. From then the required run rate came down to 8 or below and then it was a stroll in the park for the Gladiators.

Rossouw who was the anchor that kept the Gladiators at sea in a sloppy start against the Qalandars was doing the same here with the Kings. 40 runs came off his first 21 balls before he slowed down as Sarfaraz found his timing. The pair’s running between the wicket needs another honourable mention. They both placed pressure on the Kings’ fielders and converted many singles into twos. These two were in so much control that even when no runs were being scored, it did not look like a wicket was about to fall.

Although the Gladiators won the match they looked a bit tied down in the death overs of the Kings’ innings between 14 and 19 overs. From 87 in 14 overs, the Kings smashed 64 runs in the next 5 overs to get to 159 at the end of their innings. However, there was one bowler who cannot be defined by the whole team letting the captain down and that is Tymal Mills. Unlike the other bowlers (who bowled a bizarre line and length), Mills used his variations and bowled a consistent line and length to pick up 2 wickets.

At one point it looked like the Men in Blue would get to over 170 but the amazing work with the ball by Mills stopped them. Mills once again showed why he is a T20 specialist bowler. Mills finished with 2 for 21 in fours overs with an economy of just over 5. This brilliant bowling performance contained the final over of the Kings’ innings that only went for 8 and Mills made sure that the total didn’t go over the top.

One impressive thing about the Gladiators is that they have won 2 matches without their icon player, KP (Kevin Pieterson), performing. Many other teams would have failed to get a good start when such an instrumental player goes back but they kept moving forward.

Now the Gladiators sit at the top of the table with 4 points with a 100% win percentage. The Kings’ sit at the bottom as they are the only team that have lost all their matches. Overall in both HBL PSL tournaments, the Kings’ havelost 9 out of their 11 matches with their only win coming vs the Qalandars.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger.

 

 

 

HBL PSL II Match 04 – Qalandars vs United

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.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

HBL PSL II Match 03 – Kings vs Zalmi

Hey Guys,

Peshawar Zalmi beat the Karachi Kings by 7 wicket. Here is the full commentary and scorecard.

After a fiery opening spell from Mohammed Amir, which reminded us about his spell in the Asia Cup vs India, Eoin Morgen’s 80 of 57 balls steadied the Zalmi ship to bag the two points. The below-par score of just 118 looked like a challenge after the early wickets of the in-form Kamran Akmal and Mohammed Hafeez as they were falling into a hole of 2 for 2.

The boys in blue never really recovered from the nightmare of a start with 12 for 4 in the first 4 overs after being sent into bat. Mohammed Hafeez opened the bowling, like the olden, golden days, and sent Shahzaib Hasan back in the first over to apply immediate pressure to the Kings.

Babar Azam, Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakarra got the same fate as Hasan when they fell swiftly in the next four overs but the saviours came in the face of Shoaib Malik and Ravi Bopara. It felt like Deja Vu from last year. However, this saviour had a cost which was going below 6 every over and in the end the Kings somehow managed 118. This was no where near enough for such a strong batting line-up like the Zalmi. Amir might have delayed the loss of the Kings but he could not change what was written in the book of fate. Morgan played a superb T20 knock with class and elegance as well as the big ones over the boundary.

Karachi had probably lost the match in the first 4 overs of their batting innings when they lost 4 wickets for 12 runs. On paper a lot has been said about the high profile batting line-up of the Kings’ but they have not shown what they can do on the field. Something needs to change for the Kings to start getting ahead in this competition and that something is that they need to work as a unit. In last year’s season, the Kings also looked like they had not gelled in properly and that same problem is also occurring now. However, the Kings lower  order did do well to get their team over the 100 mark but that could not be enough for a batting department like the Zalmi.

Morgan took the game on to the Kings in every aspect (though he did recieve some luck) if the Zalmi chase. He survived the menacing opening spell of Amir, that his 2 teammates did not survive, even though Amir kept beating the outside edge. After that was finished, Morgan sent any short bowl, offside or leg side, smashing into the boundary. Not only the boundaries helped Morgan, it was his international experience. He held his wicket tight even when Imad Wasim and Abrar Ahmed were bowling wicket to wicket as the required run rate kept going up. After Morgan departed, Haris Sohail and Dawid Malan played 2 small cameos to finish the chase with ease.

Mohammed Hafeez had another ‘anda’ (duck) next to his name as he could not the survive the battery of fast and swinging balls from Amir and there is a scare that he might not play in the next game due to his inconsistency and poor batting performances. He managed to survive the first LBW shout but in the next one, the umpire did not hesitate to give him out.

In the second over, Kamran Akmal was caught off the bowling of Sohail Khan for a duck trying to play his famous back foot shots but this time he got it wrong. In the opening game vs United, Kamran hit 88 with beautiful shots but could not repeat it in the second game of the Zalmi. It was a bad day for the Akmal family after his brother, Umar Akmal, also got out for duck in the afternoon game.

Zalmi captain, Darren Sammy, does not drop many but he did against the United in the opener which cost his team the match so he had to make up for that and did brilliantly when he took a thick edge from Babar Azam at first slip. A selfie celebration with the whole team followed which lightened the hearts of cricket fans all around the world.

Zalmi now join United and the Gladiators on two points at the top of the table, though the Zalmi have played one more game than the other two. Lahore and Karachi are slummed at the bottom looking from some points to open their account.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

 

 

 

HBL PSL II Match 02 – Gladiators vs Qalandars

Quetta Gladiators beat Lahore Qalandars by 8 runs. Here is the full commentary and scorecard.

The Qalandars were not really in the control of when they were batting but in the bowling they made the Gladiators feel the pump in the bowling innings. Lahore combined their collapse with poor shot selection and slow running to gift the victory to last year’s finalists and the Gladiators bagging the 2 points.

However, the Qalandars had a strong start in the shape of two quickfire 20s from Brendom McCullum and Jason Roy as they took the attack to Zulfiqar Babar right from the word go but then Zulfiqar got his revenge by sending both of them to the pavilion. Although these to wickets had fallen the Qalandars’ score was still at 49 in 4.3 overs but the spin duo of Mohammed Nawaz and Hasan Khan wrapped around the middle order of the heart of Pakistan, bowling wicket to wicket with the Lahori making the mistakes. They made a lot of mistakes with 9 wickets falling for 79 runs.

Earlier in the day, the Gladiators did not have the best start either as their innings did not take off until the 13th over. When they fell in a hole of 65 for 5 in the 13th over, the Qalandars’ bowlers applied pressure but then came the debutante to the rescue. Rilee Rossouw’s late hitting of 60 steered the ship to a total that could have been chased down, 136. Then in the bowling department we saw same old Dubai where the spinners did the work to clean the Qalandars up as well as their will to get out.

Surprisingly, Rossouw struggled at the start of his innings just like most of his other teammates but he waited until the right moment to explode where as the others just gave their wicket away cheaply. After his below average start of 16 off 24 balls, then put the foot down with 6 overs to go by taking it to Grant Elliot (who was playing against his ex-team). 60 runs came off the last 5 overs and the Gladiators needed every run of it otherwise it would a very different result.

The left hand bowlers stole the show once again at Dubai with Mohammed Nawaz taking 2 for 19 off his 4 overs and Hasan Khan taking 2 for 10 in his 2.4 overs which included a man of the match award for him as well as the “Rising Star” trophy. The captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, kept Zulfiqar on even after he was punished but then he ended up taking the both the destructive openers. However, the Qalandars’ shot selection was a major part of their downfall.

With openers setting a good platform at 49 for 2, Umar Akmal came in and showed why he can be so mad sometimes. A slower wide ball was delivered to Akmal on his first ball and he tried to launch it over mid-off but picked out Thisara Perera in the deep. The highest run scorer of HBL PSL I, started his HBL PSL II with a duck. From there, the Gladiators were always in control.

The Gladiators have joined United at the top of the table where as the Qalandars have lost their 7th consecutive match meeting the Zalmi at the bottom of the table. The Gladiaotrs continuing their destructive form in all departments of the game.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

 

HBL PSL II Match 01 – United vs Zalmi

Hey Guys,

Islamabad United beat Peshawar Zalmi by 7 wickets via the D/L method. Here is the full commentary and scorecard.

A blistering 73 from 39 balls by the experienced Brad Haddin sailed the United ship past the finish line in the opening match of the HBL PSL season II against Zalmi. For a huge portion of the game the result was very unlikely as the sea saw was falling to both sides between the overs. When Dawid Malan and Kamran Akmal finished their 122 run partnership (second highest in the PSL history), it looked like the Zalmi would cruise to a big score and defend it with ease. Akmal scored 88 of just 68 balls. Islamabad United picked up wickets at regular intervals to restrict the Zalmi below an expected 200 or more. Even with late hitting from Chris Jordan, they could only finish at 190.

The United chase did not start off as they wanted with Sharjeel Khan being out LBW in the second over. However, that did no affect their priceless partnership between Dwayne Smith and Haddin. They added 104 of just 70 balls with a rain delay. Yep that’s right, a rain delay in Dubai, IN DUBAI!!! The fellow Aussie in the team – Shane Watson – took 4 wickets as well as smashing some finishing touches by smashing 19 of the penultimate over from Junaid Khan.

Islamabad was under the pump when they lost their descructive opener Sharjeel Khan. Many young players might have panicked in such a situation but with the massive mountain of experience from Smith and Haddin straightened the car on a bumpy highway and from there on the road was as smooth as cloud. Smith held one end up but Haddin let it rip against the Zalmi bowlers. But they were not slogs, they were proper test cricket cover drives for boundaries. The pair made sure that they do enough for Sam Billings and Watson to smash the final nail in the coffin of the Zalmi.

The men that had a leading role in the victory of the United were surprisingly the opening bowling pair. Mohammed Irfan and Mohammed Sami took 3 wickets and gave 43 runs in the eight overs with them. There was drama on the first ball of the HBL PSL as Mohammed Hafeez got out in known fashion by poking at one outside off stump with the ball flying to Sharjeel Khan and an easy catch was taken. Sami gave 16 off his 4 overs with an important wicket of Kamran in the 16th over. This was the where the downfall of the Zalmi started.

The batting difference between the Zalmi and United was what happened after their major partnerships ended. As soon as the Malan-Kamran partnership fell no one really got going with just 49 runs of the last 7.3 overs but when Haddin fell Smith was happy to lead the ship with Watson to make Misbah’s men reach home easily in the end.

The most underrated innings was the Smith 55 from 49 balls. Without that the United probably would have had no chance of chasing down 191 with Sharjeel being dismissed early. Smith could also have been prevented to show the fireworks after the opening ceremony when the captain, Darren Sammy, dropped at catch at slip.

United have managed to pick up from where they left off last year by winning their 6th consecutive match but Zalmi needs to go back to the drawing board as losing their 3rd consecutive match is not the best from a strong and versatile squad.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger

 

 

HBL PSL 2017 Trophy Unveiling

Hey Guys,

The glittering trophy for the second season of the HBL PSL was unveiled at the Dubai Sports City on Monday 6th February as well as the other best wicketkeeper, best bowler, best batsman and man of the match trophies.

The captains of the 5 franchises were present as well as their owners alongside the PSL chairman Najam Sethi. A press conference followed the trophy unveiling in which the captains and the team owners talked about how they have prepared for their upcoming campaign, the build-up to the tournament and about the tournament itself. The sponsors, franchise owners and the supporters were promised by Najam Sethi that they will witness the best level of cricket in the next 3 weeks.

The Captains with the Chairman PSL at #TheSpiritTrophy reveal

The main trophy is named the “Spirit Trophy” which took 4 months to design and assemble with numerous mock-ups of the trophy being made. The includes over 50,000 small diamonds. The trophy represents the patriotism of the Pakistani people and how the cricket and young upcoming talent is bonded under one small roof which is the HBL PSL.

The Spirit Trophy, with the glittering 50,000 encrusted crystals, a real prize for the #HBLPSL Champion!

The trophy for the best batsman was unveiled by the legendary Kiwi batsman and Qalanders captain Brendon McCullum; Pakistani and United captain Misbah-ul-Haq and world renowned Kings captain Kumar Sangkarra.

The best batsman trophy was names after the great legend late Hanif Mohammed; it is a crystallised cricket bat with the crystals representing the stars that will take place in the exciting brand of cricket, the HBL PSL.

The best bowler’s trophy was a crystallised cricket ball named after the legendary Pakistani fast bowler Fazal Mahmood and was unveiled by the Peshawar Zalmi captain, Darren Sammy.

The Quetta Gladiators captain and wicketkeeper unveiled the best wicketkeeper of the tournament trophy which is a crystallised keeping glove named after the legend that he is Imtiaz Ahmed.

The man of the tournament trophy was unveiled by the former Karachi Kings captain and Pakistani all-rounder Shoaib Malik.

The action of this beautiful brand of cricket begins on the 9th of February on a Thursday at 8:00 pm local time, 9:00 pm Pakistan time. I will hope to catch you all there.

Peace Out,

The Cornered Tiger