LAHORE: Lahore Qalandars defeated Multan Sultans to qualify for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Season 8 playoffs thanks to a collective effort by the bowlers before Sam Billings scored a brilliant half-century.
Sultans’ openers struggled early in the run chase against Qalandars’ strong bowling attack and put together a cautious 48-run partnership before Zaman Khan dismissed Shaan Masood in the 20th over after the power play. Can score 19 runs.
Sultans skipper Muhammad Rizwan then looked to chase runs with the promoted Osama Mir and added 16 runs to the stand before falling to Sikandar Raza in the 10th over.
The skipper played a careful innings of 30 runs off 27 balls which included two fours and a six.
Rizwan’s dismissal sent frustration into the Sultans’ batting line-up as the visitors slipped to 87/5 in the 13th over. Thanks to a brilliant bowling spell from Rashid Khan, who returned with 3/15 from his four overs.
Wickets then continued to fall for the Sultans in a run chase that stymied the flow of runs and the visitors as well, eventually being restricted to 159/7 after Kieron Pollard’s late reply.
Pollard scored 39 off 28 balls with two fours and three sixes but failed to get his team over the line.
Apart from Rashid, Hussain Talat, Sikandar, Haris Rauf and Zaman dismissed one batsman each.
Electing to bat first, the Qalandars posted a decent total on the board on the back of a crucial third-wicket partnership between Billings and Shafiq.
Earlier, the hosts got off to a disappointing start as their in-form opener Fakhar Zaman was dismissed for a wicket in the first over.
After the initial blow, Tahir Baig forged a crucial partnership with Abdullah and counter-attacked the Sultan’s bowlers as Ehsanullah added a quick 50 runs before dismissing the latter, who made 17 in 11.
Abdullah then joined hands with newcomer Billings to form another key partnership for the Qalandars.
The pair put on 69 runs for the third wicket and put the Qalandars in contention for a big total before Kieron Pollard removed the in-form Abdullah with a brilliant catch-and-bolt. He fell just two runs short of his half-century when he scored 48 off 35 balls, which included six fours and a six.
Billings was brilliant with the bat and soon brought up his half-century but Pollard once again ended his brilliant innings in his very next over. Billings scored 54 off 35 balls with six fours and two sixes.
The Qalandars then began picking up wickets at intervals but the Sultans bowlers failed to stem the flow of runs as Sikandar Raza (14), David Wiese (15) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (9) took the team to 180. . in their scheduled overs.
Anwar Ali, Ehsanullah, Pollard and Abbas Afridi took two wickets each while Samin Gul took one wicket