The defending champions Multan Sultans saw their triumphant beginning snapped by the dominant Lahore Qalandars at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, on Friday.
A 52-run victory for Shaheen Shah Afridi’s men, playing their first game in front of their home crowd, not only underlined the Qalandars’ Pakistan Super League (PSL) title credentials but also showed why they have the most dangerous bowling attack as they defended 182.
Sultans’ big-hitters Tim David and Rilee Rossouw were unable to perform. Captain Mohammad Rizwan couldn’t find his strokes. Shan Masood never got going. In fact, no one got going for the Sultans as they were bundled out for 130.
Qalandars’ Fakhar Zaman had set the platform for a big total and Qalandars reached it thanks to a 60-run partnership between Hafeez (43) and Phil Salt (26 not out) in the last five overs.
Zaman bagged Player of the match for his blistering 37-ball 60 runs.
Fakhar Zaman is also the highest scorer of the PSL’s seventh edition. He is standing on top with 416 runs while Multan’s Shan Masood and captain Rizwan are following him with 351 and 269 runs, respectively.
Talking in the post-match presentation ceremony, Fakhar said: “I am trying to bat ball to ball and play a long innings. If I get through the initial phase, I aim to bat for at least 10 overs and build from there.”
Talking about the difference in the pitch, he added: “The pitches in Karachi were more conducive for batting, here in Lahore one needs to spend more time and adapt to the conditions. This is a huge win for us as we strongly felt we could beat Multan, it was an incredible atmosphere and we always enjoy playing in front of the Lahore crowd. I am sure once we have 100 % crowds, the atmosphere would be even better.”
Meanwhile, despite the loss, Sultans retains the top position on the points table with 12 points from seven games, Qalandars have now surged to the second spot with eight points (four wins) in six games.