Lahore Qalandars won the toss and opted to field first in the 24th fixture of the Pakistan Super League 2018 in Dubai on Sunday.
They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The two teams did just that, keeping faith with the same line-ups that helped them get the W in their respective previous outings.
Captain Brendon McCullum’s peculiar choice for opening the bowling with continued as this time he tossed the ball to Anton Devcich. Within a few minutes it proved to be the wrong decision as Lendl Simmons cracked three 4s off the kiwi spinner’s bowling in the opening over.
His partner, Joe Denly, who played a 78-run knock in the Kings’ win over the Sultans last time out, couldn’t do the same this time and was out early; Yasir Shah picked up his wicket.
Shah almost had Babar Azam dismissed the very next ball, only for the young Shaheen Shah Afridi to drop the most simplest of catches.
The gaffe would not go unpunished as Azam and Simmons’ partnership blossomed, with the latter in particular looking in the mood for a big score.
By the end of 5 overs, the Kings were 36-1.
With the run rate on the lower side, the pairing sped up things; Azam hit two boundaries in the 6th over and Simmons smacked three of his own in the next.
Sunil Narine and Mitchell McClenaghan bowled a couple of tight overs but the Kings still had a more-than-decent 85 after 10 overs and had nine wicket intact.
Simmons, meanwhile, brought up his half century.
Narine, however, bowled a tight 11th, putting pressure to accelerate on Simmons (39-ball 55), who holed out to McClenaghan at long-on in the next over.
Most teams in PSL 2018 have been surprisingly good in the field, but then the Qalandars are not most teams; Sohail Khan dropped Colin Ingram’s catch in the 14 over, at the end of which the Kings were 105-2.
Narine bowled another tight over in the 15th, leaving the Kings 109-2 and in need for a late spurt of runs.
The young Afridi was excellent in the last game but not so much here as his second, the innings’ 16th, went for 14 runs and featured three boundaries.
Sohail removed Ingram in the 16th but was smashed for a six the very next ball by Azam, who brought up his third fifty in four PSL matches with that stroke.
Having scored a 49-ball 61, Azam departed in the 19th over.
That set the stage for a rare Afridi versus Afridi battle as in walked the veteran Shahid Afridi to face his namesake: Shaheen Shah Afridi.
The older Afridi copped some criticism for his animated celebration after dismissing the 19-year-old Saif Badar in the last game. And he continued his teenage-bashing ways, hitting the 17-year-old Shaheen for a huge six the first ball he faced.
However, the youngster instantly avenged himself as well as Badar, bowling out Boom Boom the next ball. Unlike the older Afridi, however, the younger one refused to celebrate his wicket out of respect.
In the end, the Kings finished with 163 runs for the loss of 5 wickets.
Lahore XI: Fakhar Zaman, Anton Devcich, Agha Salman, Gulraiz Sadaf(wK), Brendon McCullum(capt.), Sohail Akhtar, Sunil Narine, Sohail Khan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi
Karachi XI: Joe Denly, Lendl Simmons, Shahid Afridi, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Ravi Bopara, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim (capt), Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan