Peshawar thrash hapless Lahore in rain-shortened tie

Peshawar thrash hapless Lahore in rain-shortened tie
Peshawar Zalmi celebrating after taking wicket of Lahore Qalandars' batsman Haider Ali in Rawalpindi on February 28, 2020. (Photo via official PSL twitter)
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Updated 29 February 2020

Peshawar thrash hapless Lahore in rain-shortened tie

Peshawar thrash hapless Lahore in rain-shortened tie
  • The match was a welcome return to form for Zalmi after the horror show against Multan
  • Given their high octane start, Peshawar left plenty of runs out on the pitch

KARACHI: Some way, somehow Lahore Qalandars always find a way to disappoint. The franchise that has incredibly finished last in every single season of the PSL remained the only team without a win in this edition after Peshawar Zalmi handed them a heavy defeat on Friday.

For most of the day, it seemed highly unlikely that the match would take place at all. The few drops of rain that could be felt during Friday’s match had become an incessant trickle for much of the day, and it wasn’t until 10 p.m. that the game finally got underway. But despite the rain, the pitch was an absolute belter, and both teams threw away chances to post even bigger totals. Zalmi, who were put into bat had reached 90 at the halfway mark of their reduced innings yet only added 42 runs in the next six overs to end up with 132/7.

Losing Kamran Akmal early was less worrying than in other matches, as the number of overs meant that there was little point in saving wickets. Thankfully for Zalmi, Tom Banton finally came good as the much hyped Englishman found plenty of power to muscle his shots over the tiny Rawalpindi boundaries. Thankfully for just about every fan in the PSL, Haider Ali also came through with a rapid innings. The young man’s innings are fast becoming appointment-viewing, as his range of strokes and effortless execution make him an irresistible sight. His partner, Liam Livingstone, didn’t do much with the bat, but his dismissal sparked a collapse where Zalmi lost three wickets for just one run across ten balls. Haider was the second wicket of this trio, while the third was Mohammad Mohsin. The all-rounder had a wretched innings, playing and missing repeatedly before finally connecting with one that was caught to have him out for a duck.

Lewis Gregory, Daren Sammy and Wahab Riaz all finished with double figures, sharing four sixes between them to give the total plenty of heft, but it was quite obvious that given their high octane start, Zalmi had left plenty of runs out on the pitch. Those feelings were further exacerbated when Lahore Qalandar’s feared opener, Chris Lynn, began in a rampaging mood. Repeatedly hitting down the ground, Lynn’s belligerence meant that Fakhar Zaman’s more sedate start didn’t hold the run-rate back. That was when Gregory was brought on to bowl. Speaking later, he admitted that his main plan was to avoid getting smashed and try and hit the pitch as hard as he could. What he probably didn’t account for was that he was also stepping into what is a sickeningly familiar script for Lahore in the PSL.

There have been dozens of matches across the history of the tournament now where Lahore has looked in complete control of the match, which is when they find a way to lose. After all, few could forget their last defeat, caused by a historic last-wicket stand by Islamabad. Here as well, with the run-rate under control and no wickets down, regular watchers of the PSL wondered when Lahore would implode. It happened off Gregory’s very first ball, when Lynn hit a flat-trajectory rocket that was a simple catch for Hasan Ali to take. That wicket sparked a collapse where Lahore lost four wickets for eleven runs – a sequence which also included Fakhar Zaman being bowled by Wahab only for it to be called a no-ball. It meant that Lahore were never really a threat from there on in, and Samit Patel’s late blows did little other than making the scorecard look far more competitive than the match was.

With almost half the matches completed, the traditional power-trio of Peshawar, Islamabad and Quetta already look a notch above the two traditional flounderers, Karachi and Lahore. Multan’s early success has meant that they currently top the table though. For Zalmi, this match was a welcome return to form after the horror show against Multan. The team still feels like it’s lacking balance, and there is still the feeling that they don’t know what their best XI is. However, as long as the likes of Lahore Qalandars keep playing to their sorry stereotype, Zalmi will know that they have the time to figure these questions out.