wordlcup

The Lahore Qalandars celebrate a wicket

NewsImage
The Lahore Qalandars lost their grip after a strong start to tumble to a loss in their opening game © PCB

In a nutshell

Lahore Qalandars lost a game that they seemed to have a grip on for the first 25 overs. In a chase of 137, Lahore combined woeful shot selection with poor running to gift last year"s finalists a thrilling eight-run win at the Dubai Stadium. The two points Quetta Gladiators get may as well have a bow on them.

Lahore looked set for a comfortable win when Jason Roy and Brendon McCullum took the attack to Zulfiqar Babar right from the beginning of the run chase, each contributing quickfire scores in the twenties to set Qalandars up nicely. However, Zulfiqar got his revenge by ultimately accounting for both of them. Even then - with the score on 49 from 4.3 overs - Lahore looked to be well on course. Then, left-arm spinners Hasan Khan and last year"s sensation Mohammad Nawaz, strangled Lahore with a tight middle-stump line and waited for the batsmen to make mistakes, who duly obliged as the last nine wickets fell for 79 runs.

Earlier, Quetta"s innings failed to take off at any point in the first thirteen overs, with all batsmen struggling for timing after Lahore"s bowlers continued to build up pressure. At 65 for 5 in 13 overs, Quetta looked like they might struggle to get past the PSL"s record lowest score of 111, but a late surge from Rilee Rossouw, who anchored the Gladiators" innings with 60, got them to a defensible total. From there, it was their bowling - and Lahore"s suicidal approach - that did the rest.

Where the match was won

Rossouw struggled early on in his innings, just as much as his team-mates, but he managed what most of his fellow Gladiators failed to do: bide his time instead of throwing his wicket away. After a start where he scored 16 runs off his first 24 balls, Rossouw made his move with seven overs to go, launching Grant Elliot for six over covers. 60 came off the next five overs, and Rossouw finished with 60 off 47 to give Quetta a fighting chance. As it turned out, Quetta needed every single run off Rossouw"s bat to get over the line, and the absence of a similar anchor man for Lahore led to their downfall.

Kevin Pietersen was among the early wickets in Quetta Gladiators" innings © PCB

The men that won it

Consistent left-arm spinners in a low-scoring T20 contest seems to be as close to a winning formula as you can get in the sport, and Quetta got all their equations right on that front. They kept the faith with Zulfiqar, even as Roy and McCullum spanked him around the ground. He snared both of them, and then Hasan Khan and Mohammad Nawaz took a combined 4 for 29 runs in 6.4 overs. They cannot claim all the credit, however, with poor shot selection from Lahore"s batsmen at critical moments turning out to be just as conclusive.

Moment of the match

With less than six runs needed per over and eight wickets in hand, Lahore were never in a more assertive position than when Umar Akmal, last season"s highest scorer, came in to bat at 49 for 2. The openers had just departed after setting up a nice platform, and all Lahore needed was cool heads and the ability to keep rotating the strike to get their campaign going. It was here that Akmal chose to demonstrate his maddening inconsistency, trying to clear mid-off from a wide slower delivery by Anwar Ali. He picked out Thisara Perera, and Lahore were suddenly 50 for 3. From there, it was a grind, and Quetta were more than up for it.

Where they stand

Quetta start the second season of the PSL win a win, joining Islamabad United at the top. Lahore, like Peshawar, lose their first game, meaning they have been on the wrong side in seven of nine games over the PSL"s two seasons.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

MS Dhoni finds a reason to smile during a training session

Eoin Morgan lines up another big hit

Imran Qayyum makes his views known

Former Zimbabwe cricketer Grant Flower

Dan Christian and Harry Gurney were among the county players picked up in the Euro T20 Slam draft

If Zimbabwe do not travel to Bangladesh, the tri-series will turn into a bilateral affair

Comments