Poor pitch, pathetic Qalandars and empty stands hit PSL hard
Multan Sultans' Imran Tahir celebrates after the dismissal of Lahore Qalandars' Dane Vilas. AFP
Lahore Qalandars Friday started their campaign in the Pakistan Super League’s fifth edition from the point they left it in previous editions as they remained consistent in disappointing their fans with below par performances.
Qalandars struggled to put a decent total on the scoreboard and could manage to reach 138-8 in allotted 20 overs on a low and slow pitch.
And equally disappointing was the fan response as first match of the PSL at Gaddafi stadium failed to attract huge crowds though the Pakistan Cricket Board had vowed full houses. But the ineffective marketing and bad previous experiences to spectators led to mostly empty house at Gaddafi, as has been feared and mentioned earlier, as the PCB failed to create hype around the so-called the biggest event of Pakistan. The pitch quality was also questionable as the PCB failed produce a decent pitch again at Gaddafi to woo fans with some excitement of big sixes and loads of runs.
Multan Sultans captain Shan Masood won the toss and elected to field first, a decision that looked quite questionable when Chris Lynn and Fakhar Zaman put Multan Sultans bowlers to sword and added 59 runs for the opening wicket in just in 5.2 overs.
Lynn was especially brutal as Qalandars raced to 50 runs in 4.5 overs. Lynn scored 39 runs off just 19 balls hitting three sixes and four boundaries before becoming the first victim of Moeen Ali in fifth over that changed the match’s outlook completely as once dominating Qalandars fell into abyss.
Fakhar Zaman showed some resolve to regain his lost form by hitting a six and two fours but he failed to control his temperament and just after two balls become the second victim of Moeen in same over and Qalandars were reduced to 60-2.
And Moeen’s next over again brought bad luck to them as a mix up between M Hafeez and Ben Dunk resulted in the wicket of Dunk who felt short of crease as Shahid Afridi was too good to beat and his sharp throw landed in Moeen’s hands who quickly remove bails to send Dunk back to the pavilion.
And after there was only Multan Sultans who were playing in the match and dictating the terms as Qalandars batsmen have no clue how to fare in the match. Hafeez fell to Imran Tahir after playing spineless innings of 14 runs off 22 balls. And soon Tahir removed Dane Villas too who scored 19 runs off 14 balls hitting three boundaries.
Qalandars reached 100 runs mark in 13.4 overs and could add only 21 more in next 6.2 overs that summed up their performance and Multan Sultans dominance in the field.
Next to go was David Wiese who could score only three runs off five balls when Ilyas clean bowled him. In next over Shaheen Afridi became victim of Sohail Tanvir after scoring two runs and Haris Rauf was Ilyas’ second victim when he tried to play a big hit but was caught at boundary by Shahid Afridi for a duck.
Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar was another great failure who looked to buried under captaincy burden as otherwise a hard hitter he could hardly lift his bat. However, he tried to flex his muscles in the last overs of the game and hit three sixes to take Qalandars scored to 138-8. He remained unbeaten on 34 off 30 balls.
It would be a tough ask for Qalnadars bowlers, who are without a decent regular spinner as compared to their opponents who played with three spinners, to defend the total.