LAHORE: Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique struck blistering half-centuries to power Lahore Qalandars to post the third-highest Pakistan Super League (PSL) total before Shaheen Shah Afridi’s five-wicket haul propelled the defending champions to a 40-run victory over Peshawar Zalmi.
Set to chase a mammoth 242, Zalmi fell 40 runs short of pulling the astounding victory despite blistering half-centuries from Saim Ayub and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
Qalandars’ skipper dented Zalmi’s march in pursuit of the biggest total of the ongoing season as he castled Zalmi’s key batters Mohammad Haris (0) and Babar Azam (7) in his successive first two overs.
Following the slump, young batting sensation Saim Ayub and Tom Kohler-Cadmore kept the game alive with their magnificent third-wicket partnership as they added 91 runs off just 44 deliveries.
Kohler-Cadmore was on song amid his brilliant knock as he struck boundaries at will on his way to a brisk 55 off 23 deliveries before Haris Rauf struck in the 11th over to provide a much-needed breakthrough to the Qalandars.
The right-handed batter remained the top-scorer for Zalmi.
Saim looked to carry on his domination over the Qalandars’ bowlers after Kohler-Cadmore’s dismissal as he soon brought up his second PSL 8 half-century but fell victim to Rashid Khan soon after amassing the milestone.
He scored 51 off 34 balls, laced up with seven boundaries and two sixes.
Following his dismissal, Zalmi began to lose wickets at regular intervals which consequently resulted in the visitors being restricted to 201/9 after brief cameos from Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24) and Rovman Powell (20).
Shaheen led the bowling attack for his side with 5/40 while Zaman Khan followed with 2/28. Haris and Rashid, on the other hand, picked one wicket apiece.
Opting to bat first, the Qalandars piled a mammoth 241/3 in their quota of 20 overs at the back of scintillating knocks by Fakhar and Abdullah.
Earlier, the home side had a scratchy start as Wahab Riaz castled young opener Tahir Baig (5) to draw the first breakthrough for the Zalmi.
Following an early setback, Fakhar and Abdullah settled things down as they took the Qalandars to 36/1 in the powerplay before launching a ruthless counterattack on the Zalmi bowlers.
The duo turned things around for the home side with belligerent hitting with Abdullah leading the charge of the stand. The right-handed batter smashed five boundaries and as many sixes amid his magnificent knock before Wahab struck again in the 13th over for Zalmi.
Abdullah scored a quickfire 75 off 41 deliveries and left the Qalandars in complete command as the side were 127/2 in 13 overs.
Following Abdullah’s dismissal, Fakhar switched gears and took Zalmi bowlers to the cleaners with belligerent hitting but fell short of his well-deserved century by just four runs as he fell to Rovman Powell in the 17th over.
Fakhar top-scored for the Qalandars with 96 off just 45 balls, hitting three boundaries and 10 sixes.
Wahab led the bowling attack for the Zalmi with two wickets but was expensive as he leaked 45 runs in his four overs, while Powell could make one scalp.