Qalandars’ playoff hopes now hinge on result of Quetta Gladiators v Karachi Kings
Multan Sultans 169 for 8 (Maqsood 60, Afridi 3-23) beat Lahore Qalandars 89 (Faulkner 22, Dhani 4-5, Imran Khan 3-24) by 80 runs
Given their chasing struggles in this leg of the tournament, that was always going to be an uphill task. Ben Dunk was promoted, signalling a shift in approach. But the experiment failed before Dhani, sensational once again, got some extra bounce to prise out a struggling Fakhar Zaman. Blessing Muzarabani got in on the act as Mohammad Hafeez fell thanks to a loose shot. Imran Tahir joined the party too, and aside from one big over courtesy Faulkner, the chase was never really on. When he was dismissed, the fight left the Qalandars. At this rate, the Qalandars might be leaving Abu Dhabi soon enough.
Shahnawaz Dhani’s special relationship with the PSL shows no signs of cooling, his dizzying figures of 3.1-1-5-4 the zenith of an already glittering tournament. The signs of a remarkable day presented themselves the very first time he bowled, nailing Fakhar Zaman with a bouncer off his first ball and putting Qalandars on the back foot straightaway. When he returned in the middle overs, he got rid of the last dregs of Qalandars’ hope, extra bounce putting paid to Faulkner’s enterprising little stay. All that remained was the snuffing of the tail, and in this sort of mood, he accomplished that with disdainful ease.
Harif Rauf’s 20th over
It’s easy to forget what a seemingly impregnable position Lahore found themselves in 19 overs into the match. Sultans had hobbled along to 145, and Tanvir kept the strike off the final ball of the previous over, hoping to get a few big hits in. It began with a couple of streaky fours, before a hammer blow over square leg for six saw the momentum shift ominously away from the struggling Qalandars. Assisted by supremely ordinary bowling, Tanvir – who has struggled for runs this PSL – managed another ten off the last two, wrenching the momentum back to his side. While Lahore had conceded just 26 off the five overs prior, Sultans plundered 24 more in just one. Lahore would never quite recover.
Where they stand
Lahore Qalandars are joined by Multan Sultans on ten points and both teams have one match to play. Sultans have the best net run rate in the tournament and barring a historically catastrophic loss to Islamabad United, Sultans are assured of a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Qalandars’ fate rests in the hands of Quetta Gladiators. If the last place Gladiators can beat Karachi Kings, then Qalandars will take the final playoff berth. However, a win for the Kings and they’ll move to ten points but will be in the playoffs ahead of Qalandars due to a superior net run rate.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000