A swashbuckling century from Fakhar Zaman secured the reigning champion Lahore Qalandars a spot in the 15 March HBL PSL 8 Qualifier in Lahore. The triumph came in front of another packed crowd at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, as Islamabad United had twice let him off the hook.
After Lahore Qalandars reached 226 for five after deciding to bat first, Fakhar made the most of two missed catches at two (by Asif Ali off Hasan Ali) and 72 (by Hasan Ali off Shadab Khan) to score 115, his second HBL PSL century.
Qalandars into Qualifiers of PSL8
Islamabad United, which has already qualified for the play-offs, had no chance against a top-notch Lahore Qalandars bowling attack after they managed 50 for two in the PowerPlay overs. Rashid Khan then ran through the middle order on his way to figures of four for 21, as the home team was spun out for 107 in 15.1 overs with Azam Khan absent due to an injury to his left hand sustained while keeping wickets.
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The Lahore Qalandars’ second straight victory against Islamabad United by a margin of more than 100 runs was the largest loss in the history of the HBL PSL, falling by a score of 119 runs. The winners had triumphed by 110 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium.
The matchup between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Rawalpindi will determine Lahore Qalandars’ opponent on March 15 at the Gaddafi Stadium. The winner of the match between Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans on Friday will advance as the third team, while the winner of the Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans match in Rawalpindi on Saturday will round up the play-off field.
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Sticking to their tried-and-true winning strategy of batting first, Lahore Qalandars lost an in-form Abdullah Shafique on the third ball before Fakhar Zaman and Kamran Ghulam got the reigning champions back on track with a 122-run second wicket stand off 62 balls.
When Kamran passed away after scoring a 30-ball 41 with four fours and two sixes, the partnership came to an end. Sam Billings joined forces with Fakhar at that point, as the two batsmen contributed 70 runs off of 43 for the third wicket. After being 122 for one at the midway point, Lahore Qalandars performed well to score 72 runs in the next five overs.
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Fakhar Zaman, who led Lahore Qalandars to an impressive 226 for five and won player of the match honors, dominated Islamabad United’s bowlers with his characteristic and signature strokes. Fakhar, who was dropped by Asif Ali in the first slip on the fourth ball he faced, drove deftly, pulled impressively, and slog-swept forcefully to send Islamabad United bowlers reeling.
Eight fours and eight sixes made up eight of Fakhar’s 115 off 57 balls. Six fours and two sixes were part of his first 50 runs, which came off of 24 balls. His second 50 runs, which were off of 26 balls, also had two fours and four sixes. Mohammad Wasim had to make a superb catch at deep backward square leg off Hasan Ali to put an end to Fakhar’s attack, which had completely thrilled the enthusiastic and euphoric audience.
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After removing Abdullah Shafique in the opening over, Fazalhaq Farooqi went on to add the heads of Billings and David Wiese, finishing with three for 40. Islamabad United began their pursuit fiercely, but it only lasted for a very short time as they appeared to be in charge. Given that Azam Khan was unable to bat, the dismissals of Rahmanullah Gurbaz (15) and Colin Munro (11) by Zaman Khan during the PowerPlay indicated that nothing more than a postponement of the inevitable had occurred.
When wrist spinner Rashid Khan dismissed Shadab Khan (12), Mubasir Khan (3), Asif Ali (7), and Faheem Ashraf (4), Haris Rauf came back to dismiss Hasan Ali (18) and Mohammad Wasim (8) to complete the title favorites easy victory.
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