Lahore Qalandars Thursday clinched victory after defeating Quetta Gladiators by 17 runs in the 18th fixture of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Qalandars continue to rule the points table with the top-most position, while Gladiators languish at the bottom-most place.
The Shaheen Shah Afridi-led Qalandars restricted the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Gladiators to 131-7 in 20 overs, as they struggled to chase their 149-run target.
Yasir Khan and Will Smeed added 53 runs for the first wicket before the former was dismissed after scoring 14 runs in 15 balls on the final delivery of the powerplay bowled by Haris Rauf.
Meanwhile, Rashid Khan sent Smeed back to the hut after trapping the batter in front of the stumps. The right-hander scored 32 runs in 25 balls.
Mohammad Hafeez (2) was run-out after a direct hit by Fakhar Zaman crashed into the stumps.
In his last over, Rashid also secured the important wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed to add pressure on Quetta. The Afghanistan leg-spinner finished with impressive figures of 2-14 in four overs.
Quetta’s hopes were further dented when Martin Guptill, 15 runs in 20 balls, sent one straight down cow corner’s throat off the bowling of David Wiese.
With the required run-rate climbing, Quetta were not able to score the boundaries at the backend of the innings and kept losing wickets.
Sarfaraz Ahmed remained unbeaten on 27 runs but took 28 balls to get there.
Earlier, Sikandar Raza starred, 71 unbeaten runs in 34 balls, as Lahore set Quetta a target of 149 runs. The Zimbabwe cricketer smacked eight fours and three sixes in his explosive knock.
After being asked to bat first, Lahore were dismissed for 148 in 19.2 overs.
Lahore were in danger of being dismissed for less than 100 runs after slipping to 50-7 against Quetta Gladiators. However, Rashid Khan and Sikandar Raza brought their side back into the contest with a crucial fifty partnership.
Rashid was caught in the deep after scoring 21 runs in 20 balls but not before adding 69 runs in 39 balls with Raza.
It must be noted that Quetta bowlers gave their side a perfect start after reducing Lahore to 29-4 in the first powerplay.
A direct hit by Umaid Asif sent the in-form Fakhar Zaman (4) back to the hut. Asif also sent Mirza Tahir Baig (2) back to the pavilion.
Meanwhile, Sam Billings and Hussain Talat were dismissed by pacer Naveen-ul-Haq after scoring two and six runs, respectively.
After the early loss of wickets, Qalandars were hoping that Abdullah Shafique would rescue the side but the right-hander was cleaned up by Nawaz after scoring 15 runs in 14 balls.
Lahore captain Shaheen promoted himself in the batting order and came out to the crease at number six. However, the experiment didn’t produce the desired result as Shaheen was run out after scoring run-a-ball 16.
Nawaz picked up his second wicket after completing a simple caught and bowled to send David Wiese (2) packing.
Fast-bowler Mohammad Hasnain was rested against Lahore due to pain in his ankle.
Meanwhile, Naveen-ul-Haq, Umaid Asif and emerging batter Yasir Khan are made their debuts.
Quetta Gladiators: Yasir Khan, Martin Guptill, Will Smeed, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk/c), Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Odean Smith, Umaid Asif, Naseem Shah, Naveen-ul-Haq
Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Mirza Tahir Baig, Sam Billings (wk), Abdullah Shafique, Hussain Talat, Sikandar Raza, Rashid Khan, David Wiese, Shaheen Afridi (c), Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan