KARACHI: Lahore Qalandars had to rely on a brilliant all-round contribution by David Wiese to qualify for their maiden final in the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) history after thumping Multan Sultans in the Eliminator 2 fixture at the National Stadium on Sunday night.
Qalandars’ richly deserved 25-run triumph, thanks to Wiese’s 21-ball unbeaten knock of 48, bowling figures of 3-27 and a spectacular catch, also guaranteed a dream title-decider when they take on traditional rivals Karachi Kings, who had defeated Multan Sultans in Saturday’s qualifier to make the final for the first time, behind closed doors at the same venue on Tuesday night.
The result hung in the balance in the initial phase of the second half as Adam Lyth took the attack to the Lahore Qalandars as the left-hander from Yorkshire who had a modest Test career for England in 2015 — launched Multan Sultans’ daunting 183-run chase like an express train.
It was the perfect start for the Shan Masood-led side as 47 runs came off the first 26 balls, what eventually proved to be the highest partnership of the innings. For a while it seemed Lahore Qalandars had virtually run out of ideas since they were handicapped by a side strain to their primary bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, whose first two overs cost 26 runs. But Haris Rauf brought them back in contention by striking with his second delivery when Zeeshan Ashraf (12) attempted to glide through the third man region but only managed to edge a simple catch to wicket-keeper Ben Dunk.
Lyth, however, showed no mercy and sprinted to 50 from just 28 balls, bludgeoning three sixes and four boundaries before the 33-year-old went for an ambitious pull but holed out to Fakhar Zaman, who was stationed just inside the midwicket boundary. This gave Wiese his first wicket of the match with his third ball.
But Wiese, a 35-year-old former South Africa international, and Haris sent the Multan Sultans innings on a downhill ride as wickets tumbled at regular intervals. The game was virtually over after five wickets fell for 20 runs in the space of 36 balls.
The defining moments for the Qalandars came when the unstoppable Wiese held a head-high catch to dismiss Rille Rossouw and the rampant Haris ripped through Shahid Afridi’s defences to send the retired 40-yar-old Pakistan stalwart for a golden duck in most probably his final game of a storied playing career.
Dunk also had a great time with four catches behind the stumps, including a stupendous take down the leg-side when Shan (27) tried to get a boundary off Dilbar Hussain.
Earlier Lahore Qalandars, who were put in to bat, utilised the Powerplay to good effect by making 54 from the six-over slot for the loss of Tamim Iqbal (30 off 20 balls, five boundaries) and captain Sohail Akhtar (5).
Tamim, the Bangladesh ODI captain who had replaced the unavailable Australian Chris Lynn for the playoffs, got himself in a tangle when the left-hander got a leading edge while trying to pull Junaid Khan, who replaced fellow left-arm paceman Mohammad Irfan in the only change made by Multan, but was taken at point by Khushdil Shah.
Mohammad Hafeez, the match-winner in the Eliminator 1 against Peshawar Zalmi with an unbeaten 74, couldn’t repeat the fluency of Saturday night and made only 19. But it mattered little for the Qalandars who accelerated in the death overs, thanks to a 59-run stand in 32 balls from the bats of Samit Patel (26) and the man-of-the-match Wiese, who blasted five fours and three sixes.
Fakhar Zaman also came good with a 36-ball 46 (four fours and two sixes), while Haris had the great satisfaction of becoming the first to reach the 50-wicket mark in T20 cricket as the fast bowler grabbed 3-30 in four overs with Dilbar and Shaheen claiming a brace.
Tamim Iqbal c Khushdil b Junaid 30
Fakhar Zaman c Sohail b Lyth 46
Sohail Akhtar c Rossouw b Ilyas 5
Mohammad Hafeez c Lyth b Afridi 19
B.R. Dunk b Afridi 3
S.R. Patel c Shan b Sohail 26
D. Wiese not out 48
Mohammad Faizan not out 0
EXTRAS: (LB-1, W-3, NB-1) 5
TOTAL: (for six wkts, 20 overs) 182
FALL OF WKTS: 1-46, 2-54, 3-94, 4-105, 5-111, 6-170
DID NOT BAT: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Dilbar Hussain, Haris Rauf.
BOWLING: Lyth 2-0-22-1 (1nb); Sohail Tanvir 4-0-52-1 (1w); Mohammad Ilyas 2-0-17-1 (1w); Junaid Khan 4-0-42-1; Imran Tahir 4-0-30-0; Shahid Afridi 4-0-18-2 (1w).
Zeeshan Ashraf c Dunk b Haris 12
A. Lyth c Fakhar b Wiese 50
Shan Masood c Dunk b Dilbar 27
R.R. Rossouw c Wiese b Haris 18
R.S. Bopara c Dunk b Wiese 1
Khushdil Shah c Hafeez b Shaheen 30
Shahid Afridi b Haris 0
Sohail Tanvir b Wiese 3
Mohammad Ilyas c Dunk b Shaheen 9
Imran Tahir c Fakhar b Dilbar 1
Junaid Khan not out 0
EXTRAS: (LB-3, W-2, NB-1) 6
TOTAL: (all out, 19.1 overs) 157
FALL OF WKTS: 1-47, 2-80, 3-102, 4-109, 5-116, 6-116, 7-122, 8-155, 9-155.
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-36-2 (1w); Mohammad Hafeez 4-0-32-0; Haris Rauf 4-0-30-3 (1w); Dilbar Hussain 3.1-0-29-2 (1nb); Wiese 4-0-27-3.
RESULT: Lahore Qalandars won by 25 runs.
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and M.A. Gough (England).
TV UMPIRE: Shozab Raza (Pakistan).
MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Anees (Pakistan).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: David Wiese.