Rizwan’s fifty in vain as Qalandars edge Sultans in PSL 8 opener

MULTAN: Skipper Mohammad Rizwan’s magnificent 75-run knock went in vain as Zaman Khan held his nerves calm to defend 15 runs in the final over to steer defending champions Lahore Qalandars to a winning start in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) eight.

Set to chase 176, home side Sultans fell just one run short of triumph as they could accumulate 174/6 in their quota of 20 overs despite a magnificent half-century by their skipper.

Rizwan laid a solid foundation for the run chase with a brilliant 100-run partnership for the first wicket with Shan Masood, who perished in the 13th over after scoring 35 off 31 deliveries.

The skipper then put on a brief 31-run partnership with David Miller before his counterpart Shaheen Shah Afridi castled him on 75. The right-handed batter faced 50 deliveries and smashed nine boundaries including a six.

Following Rizwan’s dismissal, the Sultans lost the momentum for the run chase and fell just one run short of glory as the side lost wickets at crucial stages including three in the final over.

Shaheen, Haris Rauf, Zaman and Hussain Talat made one scalp each for the Qalandars.

Put into bat first, the Qalandars finished at 175/6 at the back of a sensational 66-run knock by their opener Fakhar.

The Qalandars’ openers Haris Baig and Fakhar laid a solid foundation for a competitive total with a magnificent 61-run partnership for the first wicket before Akeal Hossein removed the young batter.

Baig scored a brilliant 26-ball 32 that featured five boundaries.

Fakhar, on the other hand, stood his ground firm and put on brief partnerships with Shai Hope (19) and Kamran Ghulam (3) as the two batters failed to make it big with the bat.

Sultans’ pick of the bowlers Usama Mir then handed his side a much-needed breakthrough in the 16th over in the form of Fakhar, who top-scored for his side with 66 off 42 deliveries, laced with three boundaries and five sixes.

Following Fakhar’s departure, brief yet important cameos by Hussain Talat (20) and Sikandar Raza (19*) took their side to 175/6 in their set of 20 overs.

Usama returned with astounding figures of 2/25 while Ihsanullah bagged 2/37. Akeal Hossein and Shanawaz Dahani, however, struck out a batter each.

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