Recent Match Report – Sultans vs Qalandars 28th Game 2020 / 21-2021
Sultans of Multan 169 for 8 (Maqsood 60, Afridi 3-23) beat Lahore Qalandars 89 (Faulkner 22, Dhani 4-5, Imran Khan 3-24) by 80 runs
Considering their hunting struggles in this stage of the tournament, it was always going to be an uphill battle. Ben Dunk has been promoted, signaling a change in approach. But the experiment failed before the once again sensational Dhani got an extra bounce to win a struggling Fakhar Zaman. Blessing Muzarabani intervened as Mohammad Hafeez fell with a loose shot. Imran Tahir also joined the party, and other than a great courtesy from Faulkner, the hunt was never really on. When he was fired, the fighting left the Qalandars. At this rate, the Qalandars could leave Abu Dhabi soon enough.
Shahnawaz Dhani’s special relationship with PSL shows no sign of cooling, his dizzying 3.1-1-5-4 numbers the zenith of an already sparkling tournament. Signs of a remarkable day presented themselves the very first time he bowled, pinning Fakhar Zaman with a bouncer on his first ball and immediately putting Qalandars on the back foot. When he returned to the middle of the overs, he got rid of the last dregs of Qalandars hope, an additional rebound ending Faulkner’s enterprising little stay. All that remained was to sniff the tail, and in that kind of mood he did it with disdainful ease.
Harif Rauf is 20 years older
It’s easy to forget what a seemingly impregnable position Lahore found himself in 19 overs in the game. The sultans had limped to 145, and Tanvir kept the strike on the last ball of the previous one, hoping to get some big hits. It started off with some four streaks, before a hammer blow to the square leg for six of the momentum distressingly moved away from the struggling Qalandars. Assisted by extremely ordinary bowling, Tanvir – who fought for points in this PSL – had ten more points out of the last two, bringing the momentum back to his side. While Lahore had conceded just 26 of the previous five overs, the Sultans plundered 24 more in one. Lahore would never fully recover.
Where they stand
Lahore Qalandars are joined by Multan Sultans on ten points and both teams have a game to play. The Sultans have the tournament’s best net run rate and, barring a historically catastrophic loss to Islamabad United, the Sultans are guaranteed a playoff berth. Meanwhile, the fate of Qalandars rests in the hands of the Quetta Gladiators. If the last-place Gladiators can beat the Karachi Kings, then Qalandars will take the place of the final heats. However, a win for the Kings and they will move up to ten points but will be in the playoffs ahead of Qalandars due to a higher net run rate.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ Danny61000