Yet another flying start followed by yet another middle-order collapse led to Lahore Qalandars losing their fifth straight game of the ongoing Pakistan Super League — the defeat this time being an embarrassing 10-wicket one and coming at the hands of Peshawar Zalmi at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
The Qalandars, after winning the toss, decided to bat first against the defending champions.
Fast bowler Hasan Ali was deemed fit for Zalmi, who were missing their captain Darren Sammy and Harris Sohail. Liam Dawson was also named in the starting line-up for the first time. Mohammad Hafeez was chosen to lead the side in Sammy’s absence.
The Qalandars kept faith with the same side that had lost to Islamabad United a night before.
Captain Brendon McCullum and deputy Fakhar Zaman opened the batting for the Qalandars, while Sameen Gull and Umaid Asif shared the new ball for Zalmi.
Zaman made his intention clear from the beginning, plundering Gull’s opening over for 15 runs. The hard-hitting southpaw also hit a monstrous 102-metre maximum off Asif’s delivery in the second over.
After two overs, the Qalandars were 25-0, clearly trying to atone for the plethora of mistakes they made in their opening four matches — all defeats.
Hasan Ali’s introduction restricted the flow of runs and also brought the breakthrough; McCullum was the one to depart and it was a bizarre dismissal.
Having consumed one-quarter of their overs, the Qalandars were 48-1. But like they always do, they lost their way, losing Zaman (30 off 17) and Denesh Ramdin on back-to-back Liam Dawson deliveries.
Gull removed Agha Salman with a beautiful, rising delivery in the 10th over, by the end of which, the Qalandars were 73-4. Needless to say they were struggling.
Dawson picked up his third in the 11th over, this time Sohail Akhtar heading back to the dugout. All eyes were once again fixated on Umar Akmal to drag his team out of the pickle. The fit-again Hasan showed why he was the top-ranked ODI bowler in ICC rankings last year as he bamboozled Sunil Narine.
By the end of 13 overs, the Qalandars were languishing at 91-6.
The next two overs saw the addition of just five runs as Dawson and Gull bowled a tight line and length.
Akmal had been in poor form of late but there was still no excuse for Sohail Khan to not sacrifice his wicket during a misread call for run — especially not if he himself had to depart the very next over.
The Qalandars tail showed little resistance as their entire line-up could muster just 100 runs. In reply, Zalami started steadily before accelerating systematically as the pair of Tamim Iqbal and Kamran Akmal had helped their side to 41-0 after 6 overs. By the end of 10th over, Zalmi had 70 runs on board without a loss and the game was as good as over.
The Qalandars bowlers toils reaped no rewards as Akmal and Iqbal brought up the 100 partnership and secured a 10-wicket win for their side. Akmal finished with 57, while Iqbal contributed 37 to his team’s cause. Dawson was named the man of the match for his three wickets.