Without a doubt, Monday night at the Dubai stadium belonged to Umar Akmal. With a fantastic knock of 93, Akmal, along with Cameron Delport, finally led the Lahore Qalandars to their much-awaited first triumph in the PSL tournament. Just as the victory was the first for the Qalandars, the match also marked the first defeat so far for the Quetta Gladiators, a team which has been looking fantastic so far.
In the first ten overs, the Qalandars seemed to be proceeding at a snail’s pace, with 63 for 1; but with the stepping in of Akmal, things picked up pace. His partnership with Delport added 95 runs in 42 balls to the tally.
Cameron Delport was in fine form, scoring 73 in an innings that featured 8 fours and 3 sixes. Umar Akmal survived a close call at only the third ball he faced, but went on to get the most runs by any player in the PSL so far, a thrilling innings which not only included 6 fours and 8 sixes, but also 18 runs in the final over before being bowled by Umar Gul.
The 193-3 target set up by the Qalandars should have put the Gladiators on the offensive right at the start, since they needed a tall run-rate of 10 per over, but this proved to be a challenge they could not rise up to.
Mohammad Nawaz (42) and Sarfaraz (31), were the only Gladiators who put up an effective response. However, after Sarfaraz’s dismissal in the 13th over, Quetta all but crumbled, losing 6 wickets for a miserable 13 runs, collapsing at a total of 131.
Zafar Gohar of the Lahore Qalandars proved to be the best bowler, taking 4-14, followed by Ajantha Mendis who picked up 3-17.
After the initial lackluster performance in the PSL, it looks like this match will give the Lahore Qalandars the boost they needed badly.