Peshawar Zalmi edged out Quetta by the skin of their teeth on Sunday night in a low-scoring, nail-biter in Dubai, the former winning with only three wickets and three overs in hand in pursuit of just 60 runs for victory.
The match pitted against each other the only two teams without suspicions raised over their players in the weekend’s spot fixing scandal that rocked the tournament.
Those clouds figuratively lingering over this year’s PSL, were as intimidating as the literal ones hovering the stadium at the start of play.
Thankfully, the rain didn’t fall and both sides offered a welcome distraction to the fixing revelations, but the Lahore floodgates certainly opened once being put into bat.
The Qalandars were all at sea throughout their innings, seemingly no-one able or willing to bat the overs and haul their side back into contention of at least putting up a defendable total.
As the night wore on, that figure diminished at an alarming rate.
Once they were 27-4 and three of their overseas players back in the hutch, the team desperately needed someone to shoulder responsibility but, bar Fakhar Zaman (33 off 19), not a single player steeped up to the plate.
Each of trio Brendon McCullum, Umar Akmal and Grant Elliott making three-ball ducks was poetic; in its symmetry and its summation of the state of play.
More popcorn than people. Definitely more than Lahore Qalandars runs. Woeful 59 all-out, that order shouldn't fail like that. pic.twitter.com/Y0V20jVDLz— Barny Read (@BarnabyRead) February 12, 2017
Hasan Ali (3-23) did the majority of the damage, Chris Jordan mopping up the tail with 2-8 in just eight balls.
It was a fruitful night for the entirety of the Peshawar attack, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz and Shahid Afridi all picking up a wicket apiece as every bowler chipped in.
That was the sum of the Lahore generosity, not one of their batsmen discriminating in their submission with the bat.
Their eventual 59 all-out was the tournament’s lowest ever but the Peshawar run-chase was far from as straight forward as it should have been early on.
Dawid Malan (1) and Mohammad Hafeez (3) both perished early to leave Peshawar 4-2 in the third over, the latter continuing a woeful run at this season’s tournament which included two ducks in his past two matches.
Sunil Narine (2-16) and Yasir Shah (4-7) set up a grand finish but their team ultimately came up short in a night high on drama.
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