PSL 2019: Salman Butt wants to book World Cup ticket through Lahore Qalandars

Waseem Ahmed 21/02/2019
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Salman Butt believes that a successful showcase in the PSL could lead to a national team comeback in time for the World Cup.

The controversial batsman is set to play on his biggest stage since the end of his five-year suspension for spot-fixing in 2016 after being called up by Lahore Qalandars.

Lahore have lost their talisman Mohammad Hafeez for the duration of the tournament due to injury, and 34-year-old Butt has been selected as an experienced replacement to shore up the batting order.

Butt, scorer of eight ODI centuries, most recently played for Lahore Whites in Pakistan’s National T20 Cup – now he has set his sights on impressing national selectors and coach Mickey Arthur.

“I really hope that if I can come good and help the team win then definitely the other things will work out,” Butt told reporters in Lahore on Wednesday before flying to the UAE.

“These things always happen in life. Somebody goes down somebody comes up … nobody can control that. I wish him [Hafeez] all the best in his recovery and hope he’s back for Pakistan.”

Selectors have opted for youth over experience of late, with openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq both impressing hugely in ODIs since their debut in 2017.

Pakistan will remain in the UAE for the ODI series against Australia next month, while the World Cup starts in May. Despite the strong competition, Butt hopes to stick around with them.

“Definitely I’ve been keeping my hard work going on,” Butt added. “The thing to learn was how to keep yourself motivated throughout this long time and this long awaited call has come.”

Butt’s first game for Lahore is likely to be against Multan Sultans in Sharjah on Friday.

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PSL 2019: Shane Watson's second fifty makes it three wins in a row for Quetta v Multan

Waseem Ahmed 20/02/2019
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Shane Watson. Image: PSL/Twitter.

Quetta Gladiators continued their blazing start to PSL 2019 as they stormed to their third straight win, defeating Multan Sultans by eight wickets in Sharjah on Wednesday.

Chasing 161 for victory, Quetta opener Shane Watson got his second straight fifty of the season (61 off 40 balls) while Rilee Rossouw finished the game off with 67 from 45 balls as the table toppers reached home in 18.3 overs.

Quetta restricted Multan to 160-9 with leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed giving away just 22 runs in his four overs. Shoaib Malik played a captain’s knock for Multan, hitting 53 from 37 balls to add some impetus to the innings as no other batsman made more than 30 against a disciplined Quetta attack.

Leg-spinner Fawad (1-22) and left-arm seamer Sohail Tanvir (1-29) produced yet another efficient effort with the ball to tie the Multan batsmen down on a true Sharjah pitch.

Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed proved his mastery in the T20 format once again, taking a close lbw DRS call against the dangerous looking opener James Vince (28 off 17 balls) and getting vindicated.

A crucial moment of the match came late in the first innings when dangerman Shahid Afridi was out for a golden duck, lbw against Mohammad Irfan, as Multan were reduced to 144-6 in the 18th over.

In the chase, Quetta’s Australian opener Watson was in vintage form once against as he cracked his second successive fifty, defying the struggles of most batsmen against the challenging pitches and quality bowling of the league.

Watson did the bulk of the scoring as he raced to a half-century, with Rilee Rossouw doing well to just give him company.

Once Watson departed for 61, Rossouw took over and upped the scoring rate. His unbeaten 67 ensured there were no more hiccups.

BRIEF SCORES

Multan Sultans: 160-9

Shoaib Malik: 53

Fawad Ahmed: 1-22

Quetta Gladiators: 161-2 in 18.3 overs

Shane Watson: 61

Rilee Rossouw: 67*

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PSL 2019: Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz main threats in Karachi Kings v Peshawar Zalmi

Waseem Ahmed 20/02/2019
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Hasan Ali. Image: PSL/Twitter.

Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings have one win each under their belts but enter the Sharjah leg of PSL 2019 with varying levels of confidence.

The Dubai leg of the PSL ended with batsmen generally struggling as wickets and conditions became in favour of the bowlers.

Karachi were on the receiving end of some top quality bowling in their previous game, with Lahore Qalandars quick Haris Rauf snaring 4-23 in a match-winning effort that restricted Karachi to 116 in their chase of 139.

A lot will depend on opening batsman Babar Azam and how he handles the in-form Peshawar Zalmi bowlers.

Zalmi quicks Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz were in lethal form as they dismissed an AB de Villiers led-Lahore Qalandars for just 78.

Hasan has looked a different bowler altogether in this year’s PSL and the way he castled De Villiers neck and crop during his spell of 4-15 will give his franchise and the national team a lot of confidence. Left-arm quick Wahab, meanwhile, continued bowling with searing pace as he gave another good account of himself, picking up 3-17 to go with his 2-18 against Quetta.

Ben Dunk has joined Karachi after scoring a fine fifty in the Big Bash League final for Melbourne Stars. Peshawar will be hoping new recruit Imam-ul-Haq finds his feet at the top as that would give them solidity. Their middle order looks vulnerable in the absence of Misbah-ul-Haq and they could consider giving up an international player to include Misbah.

TEAM NEWS

Karachi all-rounder Ravi Bopara had two average games and should make way for Dunk who at least promises some runs. Peshawar need a lot more out of their West Indies all-round duo Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy. Zalmi skipper Sammy in fact hasn’t batted or bowled this PSL and it remains to be seen how long both continue in the playing XI.

 LIKELY LINE-UPS

Karachi Kings: Liam Livingstone, Babar Azam, Ben Dunk, Mohammad Rizwan, Colin Ingram, Imad Wasim (c), Sikandar Raza, Sohail Khan, Mohammad Amir, Umer Khan, Usman Shinwari

Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Amin, Kieron Pollard, Liam Dawson, Darren Sammy (c), Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umaid Asif, Ibtisam Sheikh

Match starts 20:00 UAE time

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