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20th Match report : Islamabad United Vs Lahore Qalandars

Qalandars eliminated from the tournament sending Kings through to the playoffs

This was a must win game for Lahore Qalandars if they were to qualify for the playoffs as failure to do so would send Karachi Kings through. Lahore Qalandars were without the injured Chris Gayle while Islamabad United gave some of their first team players a rest after already having sealed qualification, with Dwayne Smith making his debut in the HBL PSL. United won the toss and decided to field first, and got off to a spectacular start!

Qalandars’ top order crumbled under pressure as their captain Azhar Ali was dismissed by Mohammad Irfan in the first over. Rumman Raees picked up Cameron Delport next with some fine bowling, and Irfan struck again in the third over and sent Muhammad Rizwan packing, with Qalandars off to a horrific start at 6/3! They were down and out before Umar Akmal, who is in the form of his life, was joined by Sohaib Maqsood as both batsmen looked to resurrect the innings in this crucial encounter.

The rotated the strike well and picked their moments well as they started to build momentum. With ten overs gone, Qalandars were 54/3.
They took their time before playing their shots and built a good partnership together. Runs started to flow at a steady rate as Maqsood took charge, while Akmal supported him well on the other end. Karachi Kings’ supporters would have been hoping for this partnership to break soon and their prayers were answered as Masood was dismissed by Irfan in the 16th over, after scoring an important 57 runs from 44 balls.

The pair put on 97 runs for the fourth wicket partnership, helping Lahore to get to 107/4 after 17 overs. Akmal launched off in the last few overs to ensure Qalandars finished strongly. He struck the ball wonderfully and dealt only in boundaries, fit for a batsman in form and propelled Lahore to a fighting total of 150/5 after their allotted overs, a total they were thrilled with as it seemed improbable at one time. He remained not out after scoring an incredible 72 runs from 49 deliveries, bringing his side back in to the competition with everything to play for in the second half.
Lahore Qalandars needed to pick up early wickets to have any chance of defending their total on this pitch, and that’s exactly what they did. Zia Ul Haq was in great form and dismissed the dangerous Dwayne Smith in the second over. He struck again in his next over to get rid of Sharjeel Khan who skied one in the air forcing a good catch from Rizwan. After five overs, United were 36/2 as Qalandars started well.

Brad Haddin and Khalid Latif took it up on themselves to build a partnership and steady the ship. Haddin played exquisitely and looked comfortable on the crease, while Latif continued to build on his good form and kept the runs flowing. Islamabad United got back in control of proceedings through this partnership and looked favourites to win half way through their innings, with their score at 84/2 after ten overs.
Lahore finally got their breakthrough in the 13th over, courtesy a massive confusion in the middle between the batsman and Khalid Latif was run out. Misbah came out to bat and got off the mark with a beautiful pull for four towards deep midwicket. He was hitting the ball nicely and it seemed as if he was in a hurry to finish the match off! Just as United were cruising, Haddin was run out after a well made 54 from 42 deliveries, but it was a little too late.

Misbah got his team over the line as he remained not out for 38 runs from 19 balls. Islamabad United capped off a comfortable win by 5 wickets, eliminating Lahore Qalandars from the tournament, much to the relief of Karachi Kings.

About Shakeel Gulzar

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