There was finally something to celebrate for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League. After six consecutive defeats, they won their first game of the competition by a stunning six wickets over league leaders Multan Sultans.
But there was one man who stole the show for Lahore and his name is Shaheen Afridi. After going wicketless for three matches, Afridi finally got his first scalps of the tournament – a five-wicket haul.
The 17-year-old left-armer was sensational for the bottom side with figures of 5-4 and that feat is even more remarkable considering he didn’t even bowl his full quota of four overs.
Here we analyse his performance of the six-wicket victory on Friday evening.
OVERS BOWLED: 3.4
RUNS CONCEDED: 4
30-SECOND REPORT AND KEY MOMENTS
The 17-year-old pacer had already been earmarked as one for the future by Lahore Qalandars’ coach Aaqib Javed before a ball was even bowled and on Friday evening, he left everyone in awe at Dubai International Stadium after his sensational bowling.
He was made to wait until the 13th over (later revealing it was part of a plan) but made a big impression every time he was on to bowl. His swing and reverse ball caused problems for Multan and Shoaib Malik, Ross Whiteley and Saif Badar all got a first-hand view of what damage he can do after taking three wickets in four balls.
It got better for Lahore’s new star, wrapping up the innings with the dismissals of Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan in consecutive deliveries.
Despite being frustrated with his efforts in his previous three games, Afridi was consistent with the ball, containing the batsmen who were unable to get a boundary off any of his deliveries. His in-swinging yorkers also proved to be a challenge for Multan.
As far as PSL individual performances go, this display is definitely up there among the best. It was only a matter of time before he delivered and he did so in remarkable style. It was even more special considering it saw Lahore end their losing six-match run for their first win of this year’s PSL.
WHAT AFRIDI THOUGHT OF HIS PERFORMANCE:
“I said on the bus while coming to the stadium that I would take five wickets and it looks like Allah heard my prayers. It’s a very good feeling to get the five wickets and more importantly the win. Before (the tournament), I had never played T20 cricket, not even at club level, so to be playing on a big stage is a special moment for me.”
Speaking to the media after the loss, the 36-year-old said: “Ultimately as captain you’re responsible for the performances. I feel like I’ve done the same things that I do in any team that I’ve led, but unfortunately that hasn’t resonated.”
“So that’s the question we’ve got to ask tonight as well – whether it’s better offloading it to someone else and seeing if we can get better results.
“Doesn’t matter if you’re saying the right things, but if they’re not hitting home or the instructions aren’t being followed, then you’re always going to be pushing it uphill.”
A splendid unbeaten cameo of 33 runs from just 12 deliveries by the skipper had helped the Qalandars amass 163-8 in their 20 overs after batting first.
However, McCullum’s New Zealand counterpart Luke Ronchi’s 41-ball 77 saw Islamabad romp to a comfortable victory with more than two overs to spare.
McCullum insisted that the cause of defeat had been solely down to his bowlers and not the batting.
“I thought it was a very, very good batting performance, set up by Anton Devcich in his first game, and he showed how hungry, competitive people are able to prosper,” he said.
“What we did after that, I was really disappointed with, to be honest. It’s not what we’re about and I don’t mind losing, but you expect to be hard to beat. We’ve got some questions to ask tonight and that’s all the way through.”
With the Lahore out of contention for the eliminators with no points from their six games, the skipper believes a change of guard could be beneficial to the side.
“I don’t know what that is. It’s very hard on the support staff to prepare a team if guys aren’t prepared to listen, but if that’s the case, then we’re going to have to keep making changes, because there are young, enthusiastic guys in our team, which may be an opportunity, especially now since we’re out of the competition.” he said.
Quetta Gladiators powered to their second straight win following a 67-run triumph over Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League on Thursday.
Batting first in Dubai, opening batsman Shane Watson cracked an unbeaten 90 off just 58 balls while Kevin Pietersen, playing in his final competitive tournament, hit a 34-ball 52 as Quetta made 180-4.
In reply, Karachi were pegged back in the first two overs itself as they were reduced to 2-2. The result was a mere formality after that as they were restricted to 113-8.
Here we take a look at the talking points from Thursday’s match.
The conditions in the third edition of the PSL have not been conducive for batting, with just one score above 180 before the start of the match. But the experience of Watson and Pietersen overcame those obstacles as the two stitched together an 86-run stand for the second wicket. Keeping Mohammad Amir (1-29) and Usman Khan (1-22) at bay, the duo attacked other bowlers to put Quetta on track for a big total.
AFRIDI EXPERIMENT FAILS
Star all-rounder Shahid Afridi was declared fit after recovering from a knee niggle. In the chase, he opened the innings hoping to give Karachi a quick start in pursuit of a stiff target. However, the man they affectionately call ‘Lala’ went after the bowlers from the first ball without getting his eye in and returned to the pavilion after scoring a six-ball one, slicing left-arm quick Rahat Ali to mid off.
NAWAZ APPLIES THE BRAKES UP FRONT
Karachi openers Joe Denly and Afridi had no option but to target left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz who opened the bowling for Quetta. However, Nawaz extracted enough turn to beat the bat of both openers, getting Denly stumped off the last ball of the first over. His three overs for just 11 runs up front pretty much ended the contest.