DUBAI - A day after captain Brendon McCullum criticised his team's bowling performance, 17-year old left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi responded with a five-wicket haul to help Lahore Qalandars prevail over table-toppers Multan Sultans by six wickets, and register their first win of the tournament. Afridi returned extraordinary figures of 3.4-1-4-5 to derail Multan, who had looked set for a 150-plus total at one point.

Lahore began their chase with a flourish, thanks to Anton Devcich (22 off 9 balls) and Fakhar Zaman, but soon lapsed into a more circumspect approach after they lost three wickets in successive overs. Led by Mohammad Irfan, Multan's fast bowlers kept up the pressure, but McCullum and Gulfraiz Sadaf weathered the nervy phase. Despite Sadaf's dismissal in the 16th over, Lahore made it over the line with eight balls to spare. McCullum also benefited from a pair of reprieves, being dropped twice (on 9 and 10) in consecutive overs by Saif Badar, and finished with an unbeaten, run-a-ball 35.

With nothing having worked for the Qalandars so far in the tournament, captain McCullum rolled the dice once again, this time opening the bowling with another part-time off-spinner Agha Salman.

Whatever the plan was it didn't work as the Sultans' opening pair did pretty much what they wanted in the first 8 overs, giving their side an opening stand of 61, of which 45 were contributed by the Sri Lankan.

At the beginning, there was little to suggest that Multan had erred in opting to bat first. For one, there was Kumar Sangakkara, with a pronounced open stance, charging at and pulling the seamers with nonchalance. Two defining images of his dominance came off the last two balls of the sixth over, which he dispatched for fours.

On the first occasion, Sangakkara skipped down the track to Mitchell McClenaghan, and meeting the ball on the full, drove it down the ground. McClenaghan responded with a short delivery, which was coolly swatted away over mid-wicket as Multan finished with 54 for no loss in the Powerplay. However, once Sunil Narine dismissed Sangakkara in the ninth over, the torrent of runs reduced to a trickle. Along with Narine, who finished with figures of 4-0-16-2, Yasir Shah and McClenaghan orchestrated the middle-over strangulation before the Afridi show began.

Sangakkara fell on the first ball of the 9th over, following which the in-form Sohaib Maqsood joined Shehzad at the crease.

By the end of 12 overs, the Sultans had 86 runs with nine wickets in the bank. Their one concern though was their slow run rate but that can happen with Shehzad in the middle.

The solitary six of Shehzad's innings came when he danced down the track and gave his everything, forging the impression that the ball was going to land on the stands if not outside the stadium. It barely cleared the long-off boundary.

That dilemma of the Sultans' was solved in the 13th over when the Shehzad, having made 32 at less than a run-a-ball ratio, was removed by Mitchell McClenaghan. The 14th over finally saw the introduction of Shaheen Afridi, who gave away just two runs on his first six balls, piling the pressure on the Sultan batters.

And that pressure materialised into a wicket the next over when the dangerous Maqsood, who has reclaimed the 'dangerous' tag for the past couple innings, completely misread the line of a Sunil Narine delivery and got bowled.

In the 16th over, the young Afridi came of age, removing Shoaib Malik, Ross Whiteley and Saif Badar in a span of four balls and only just missing out on a hat-trick.

As Afridi wiped out the middle and lower orders, Multan managed only 17 runs in their last five overs for the loss of seven wickets. Only three batsmen finished with double-digit scores.

By the end of his over, the Sultans were 99-6 and in a position their opponents know a bit too much about.

The 17-year-old Afridi, who was consistently hitting 140kmph and was almost unplayable, picked up two more wickets, to finish with unreal figures of 5-4 in 3.4 overs. Yes, you read that right! The lanky left-armer gave away just four runs and picked up five wickets.

The Sultans, who not so long ago were 91-1, eventually skittled out for just 114, losing nine wickets for the addition of just 23 runs.

With such a modest target to chase, the Qalandars should've coasted to their target and that's how it seemed early on. The operating word being 'seemed' here.

Anton Devcich and Fakhar Zaman hit several boundaries of their own before the former departed in 3rd over and the latter in 4th.


Lahore Qalandars

Lahore Qalandars

Ahmed Shehzad c Gulraiz b McClenaghan           32

K Sangakkara c Devcich b Narine              45

Sohaib Maqsood b Narine          16

Shoaib Malik c Akhtar b Shaheen            3

K Pollard b Sohail Khan  9

R Whiteley b Shaheen   0

Saif Badar c Agha Salman b Shaheen      0

Sohail Tanvir run out     2

Imran Tahir not out       2

Junaid Khan lbw b Shaheen        1

M Irfan b Shaheen         0

EXTRAS: (lb3, w1)           4

TOTAL: (all out; 19.4 overs)        114

FOW: 1-61, 2-92, 3-97, 4-99, 5-99, 6-99, 7-108, 8-111, 9-114, 10-114

BOWLING: Agha Salman 1-0-5-0, Sohail Khan 3-0-28-1, S Narine 4-0-16-2, Yasir Shah 4-0-27-0, M McClenaghan 4-0-31-1, Shaheen Shah Afridi 3.4-1-4-5

Fakhar Zaman c Pollard b Imran Tahir    16

A Devcich c Sangakkara b Shoaib             22

Agha Salman c Sangakkara b Irfan           3

Gulraiz Sadaf c Shehzad b Badar              27

B McCullum not out       35

Sohail Akhtar not out     11

EXTRAS: (w1)     1

TOTAL: (4 wkts; 18.4 overs)        115

FOW: 1-33, 2-41, 3-41, 4-94

BOWLING: Sohail Tanvir 3.4-0-29-0, M Irfan 4-1-20-1, Shoaib Malik 1-0-6-1, Imran Tahir 4-0-26-1, Junaid Khan 4-0-19-0, Saif Badar 2-0-15-1

TOSS: Multan Sultans


UMPIRES: Tim Robinson, Asif Yaqoob

TV UMPIRE: Shozab Raza