RAWALPINDI: Fakhar Zaman scored a magnificent century before bowlers powered Lahore Qalandars to a resounding 119-run victory over Islamabad United to retain their top spot in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) eight standings.
Set to chase a massive 227, the strong United batting lineup crumbled against a disciplined Qalandars’ bowling attack and consequently bundled out for a meagre 107 in absence of their in-form batter Azam Khan.
The United openers, earlier in the run chase, provided a flying start to their side as they raced up to 31/0 in the first three overs.
The Qalandars, who were put under pressure right from the start of the pursuit then finally found a moment of cherish as Zaman Khan got rid of danger-looking Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who could score a run-a-ball 15.
Gurbaz’s dismissal triggered a match-defining collapse as the United lost wickets at regular intervals before eventually being restricted to 107/9 in the 16th over.
Since their wicketkeeper batter Azam, did not come to bat due to an injury, which he suffered in the first innings, the United were deemed all out and thus Qalandars registered a dominating 119-run victory over the hosts.
Tailender Hasan Ali and opener Alex Hales remained the joint top-scorer for the United in their dismal show with the bat as both could score 18.
Rashid Khan led the Qalandars’ bowling attack with 4/21 while Haris Rauf and Zaman bagged two each. David Wiese, on the other hand, made one scalp.
Opting to bat first, the Qalandars made the most of the batting paradise on offer as the visitors dominated the host bowlers to pile up a massive total at the back of a scintillating century by Fakhar.
Earlier, the defending champions were off to a poor start as they lost their in-form batter Abdullah Shafique for just one in the first over.
Fakhar then looked to settle things down after the early setback and batted cautiously in the next over. However, after Asif Ali dropped his catch in Hasan Ali’s first over, there was no stopping the hard-hitting opener.
Fakhar then did not look back and stitched a match-defining partnership with Kamran Ghulam, putting his side in complete command to score big.
The pair contributed 122 runs in just 61 deliveries before Mohammad Wasim Jr struck and brought an end to Ghulam’s cautious knock. He scored 41 in 30 balls, hitting four boundaries and two sixes.
Fakhar then put on another crucial partnership as he accumulated 70 runs for the third wicket with Sam Billings and brought up his second PSL century.
United then had a sigh of relief in the 18th over as right-arm pacer Hasan Ali got the prized wicket of Fakhar; courtesy of a magnificent effort in the deep by Wasim Jr.
Fakhar top-scored for the Qalandars with 115 in 57 balls, smashing eight boundaries and as many sixes.
The Qalandars then jolted with two back-to-back dismissals at the backend as Billings and David Wiese (6) perished in quick successions.
Billings remained the notable run-getter for the Qalandars with his 22-ball 32 which featured two boundaries and two sixes.
Meanwhile, Rashid Khan’s vital cameo in the death overs made sure Qalandars post a massive total on the scoreboard. He scored brisk 15 runs in five deliveries, laced with two boundaries and a six.
Fazalhaq Farooqi led the bowling attack for the United with 3/40 while Hasan and Wasim Jr could pick up a wicket.