SHARJAH - Fakhar Zaman bamboozled 94 runs off 50 balls to help Lahore Qalandars beat Quetta Gladiators by 17 runs in the 26th fixture of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) third edition here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

With the weight of qualification lifted off their shoulders, Lahore Qalandars are suddenly flying. Qalandars, who went through a torrid sequence of eight successive games without tasting victory in the Pakistan Super League, have now won three on the bounce. They outbatted the highly-fancied and already qualified Quetta Gladiators on a flat Sharjah surface to setup a 17-run victory. Fakhar Zaman was the star of this latest victory, missing out on a deserved century by six runs. His 50-ball 94, the highest individual score of the season so far and third-highest overall, helped Lahore post 186, a total the bowlers united to defend by a comfortable margin of 17 runs.

Qalandars have seen no reason to change their playing XI ever since they ended their wretched run of defeats and that stability helped them offset the toss loss. Zaman and Anton Devcich were quick off the blocks and added 43 for the first wicket in 5.2 overs before Rahat Ali dismissed the latter. Agha Salman fell cheaply and Brendon McCullum scratched around for 11 balls for his 5 but Zaman's belligerence ensured the run-rate didn't dip to alarming levels.

The 13th over, soon after Zaman eased to a 36-ball 50, was when the Lahore opener decided to flex his muscles. His next 14 deliveries would bring 44 runs for Lahore, starting with Mir Hamza's over that fetched 16. Hamza's off-cutter and back-of-a-length deliveries were retrieved from the stands by the fielders at long on and deep mid-wicket respectively, forcing captain Sarfraz Ahmed to run to his bowler. Hamza did better but Zaman was still able to squeeze out another boundary to make it 16 from from the over.

A little later, Rahat Ali was taken for three sixes and a four in a 24-run over as Zaman rocketed towards a century. Even the in-form Shane Watson wasn't spared, conceding 50 from his four-over spell. In all, Zaman struck nine fours and six sixes in a stunning display of power hitting. Just when a hundred was there for the taking, he hit a full ball from Anwar Ali straight down long off's throat and walked out to loud applause from the dug-out. Lahore managed only 46 from the final five overs but even then 186 seemed a tad bit beyond Quetta.

The Gladiators, boasting a shiny new name at the top - Jason Roy - started well, even better than their opposition. But after getting to 50 by the fifth over, Shane Watson fell to Shaheen Afridi. Roy fell thereafter for 36 and Kevin Pietersen clubbed a big six before becoming the second of Sunil Narine's victims. Yasir Shah joined Narine to apply the spin choke through the middle as the score quickly became 92 for 5. Rilee Rossouw raised hopes by clubbing five sixes, but his 22-ball 42 didn't bring down the asking rate enough for Sarfraz, who curiously came after Anwar Ali, to pull off a heist.


lahore qalandars

karachi kings

Fakhar Zaman c Hasan b Anwar Ali         94

A Devcich c Anwar Ali b Rahat Ali            18

Agha Salman b Mir Hamza          1

B McCullum st Sarfraz b Hasan Khan      5

Gulraiz Sadaf  not out    42

S Narine not out              20

EXTRAS: (lb 2, nb 1, w 3)              6

TOTAL: (4 wckts; 20 overs)          186

FOW: 1-43, 2-53, 3-73, 4-141.

BOWLING: Anwar Ali 4-0-24-1, SR Watson 4-0-50-0, Rahat Ali 4-0-51-1, Mir Hamza 4-0-34-1, M Nawaz (3) 3-0-22-0,  Hasan Khan 1-0-3-1.

J Roy lbw b Narine          36

S Watson b Shaheen Afridi         12

K Pietersen b Narine      11

Rameez Raja (2) c Fakhar b Yasir             7

R Rossouw b McClenaghan         42

Anwar Ali c Shaheen Afridi b Yasir           4

Sarfraz Ahmed not out  28

M Nawaz (3) not out      19

EXTRAS: (b 2, w 8)          10

TOTAL: (6 wkts; 20 overs)            169

FOW: 1-52, 2-56, 3-69, 4-75, 5-92, 6-120.

BOWLING: Sohail Khan 4-0-30-0, SP Narine 4-0-22-2, Yasir Shah 4-0-35-2, MJ McClenaghan 4-0-43-1, Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-37-1.

TOSS: Quetta Gladiators

UMPIRES: Tim Robinson, Rashid Riaz

TV UMPIRES: Shozab Raza


MATCH REFEREE: Roshan Mahanama

TV UMPIRES: Ahmed Shahab

RESERVE UMPIRE: Khalid Mahmood

MATCH REFEREE: Mohammed Anees