Defending champions Lahore Qalandars triumph over Multan Sultans in opener

Lahore Qalandars Monday defeated the Multan Sultans in the opening match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023 at the Multan Cricket Stadium.

Khushdil Shah hit two boundaries off last two balls to take the chase too closer. Young Zaman Khan managed to defend 14 runs in the last over to win the game for his side.

Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood had put Sultans in a commanding position with 100-run partnership for the first wicket. Rizwan scored his 13th fifty of the PSL against the defending champions.

The two batters didn’t let the Qalandars’ bowlers have a loose moment and remained firm at the crease for long. The Qalandars finally found a breakthrough via Hussain Talat, who sent Masood, who socred 35 off 31 balls, back to the pavilion.

Later, Qalandars’ skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled out Rizwan after he scored 75 runs in 50 balls, reducing the home side to 131-2.

After the two openers, the Qalandars skipper and his bowling partner Haris Rauf brought their side back into to the game.

The left-armer bowled a sensational fourth over.

South Africa’s David Miller, who is renowned for his power-hitting prowess, was cleaned up by Rauf, who bowled a fiery yorker to dismiss the left-handed batter who hit 25 runs.

Last-over drama

Needing 15 runs in the last over, Shaheen gave the ball to Zaman. The youngster started the over with a brilliant yorker and gave away a run.

On the next ball, hard-hitter Kieron Pollard was sent packing after he tried running for two but unfortunately couldn’t reach the crease in time.

The third ball was a quick full toss by Zaman, which hit Usman Khan’s thigh pad and the batter had to leave the field after being adjudged LBW.

After bowling a wide, the right-arm pacer bowled another sensational delivery, which also resulted in a run-out as Usama Mir had to depart for a duck.

Khushdil hit consecutive boundaries with his last two balls, but Sultans fell two runs short of their target.

Put to bat first, the defending champions Qalandars managed to score 176 runs in 20 overs, thanks to Fakhar’s 66 runs off 42 balls. The left-handed batter completed his 2000 runs in the PSL.

Young opening batter Mirza Tahir Baig scored 36 runs off 26 balls before getting out to Akeal Hossain.

The two batters built a strong foundation for the Qalandars as they firmed up the team position with a 61-run partnership for the first wicket.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Shai Hope also scored 19 runs off 17 balls.

In order to reach the competitive total, all-rounder Sikandar Raza (19) and Hussain Talat (20) put on a 39-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

For Multan Sultans, Usama and Ihsanullah claimed two wickets each, while Akeal secured a single scalp. Mohammad Rizwan is leading Multan, meanwhile Shaheen Afridi is in charge of the defending champions Qalandars.

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