PSL 2019

Qalandars gun down 201 runs target on the final ball

Danyal Rasool

Just when the murmurs about the PSL not seeing competitive cricket had reached audibility levels, Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars brought the PSL to life with a last ball heart-stopper. For Multan, it was a heartbreaker to boot, with David Wiese depositing Dan Christian into the stands behind long-off off the last delivery of the game, chasing down Quetta’s 200, and posting a record for the highest ever total in the PSL’s history.

Just when the murmurs about the PSL not seeing competitive cricket had reached audibility levels, Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars brought the PSL to life with a last ball heart-stopper. For Multan, it was a heartbreaker to boot, with David Wiese depositing Dan Christian into the stands behind long-off off the last delivery of the game, chasing down Quetta’s 200, and posting a record for the highest ever total in the PSL’s history.

It was a game neither side could afford to lose, and it showed in the desperation with which both played. A shoddy bowling start by Lahore allowed Multan, led by a brilliantly elegant 81 from James Vince, to rank up the runs in the first 12 overs, by which time Multan had raced to 138. They looked well placed to set a total well in excess of 220 at that point, but once Vince fell, Multan lost their way slightly, with the 200 Shoaib Malik’s side finished with feeling slightly under-par on a raker of a surface.

Both sides had won only one match from three, and the beleaguered Lahore already looked as if they would cement their place at the bottom of the table when Mohammad Ilyas claimed Sohail Akhtar’s scalp in the fourth over. That brought Salman Butt, drafted in to replace Mohammad Hafeez, to the crease. It turned out to be a struggle for the left-hander, who never looked up to meeting the expectations of a sky-high run rate. Fakhar Zaman was left to do much of the heavy lifting, striking seven fours and three sixes en route to a 35-ball 63.

Disaster struck for Lahore at that point, one it seemed impossible to recover from. Fakhar holed out at square leg, before Salman Butt’s struggles at the crease were ended when Junaid Khan castled him. Agha Salman soon followed, before Brendan Taylor came down with cramps as Lahore began to fall apart. It left de Villiers and fellow South African David Wiese to score the remaining 94 runs, the rate having climbed above 14.

What followed was one of the most ferocious spells of hitting by the pair, with Wiese keeping his end of the bargain to ensure his captain wasn’t fighting a lone battle. Some of the shots de Villiers pulled, off though, were scarcely believable, a reverse-sweep ramp over fine leg for six off a fast bowler the most dazzling example of his audacity. As the  chase neared, it was left to Wiese to fetch three of the last ball. Denied so often at the death, Lahore were to come out at the right end this time.

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