Lahore Qalandars’ top-notch pace attack was taken by surprise by the Sultans’ openers as the latter had all answers on every tactic adopted by the AB de Villiers-11 at the Sharjah Cricket Ground.
The feared trio, Shaheen-Rahat-Haris, failed to give the much-needed timely breakthrough as opener James Vince managed to score 84 off 41 with seven boundaries and six sixes on a 204.87 strike rate before being dismissed by legspinner S Lamichhane.
The legspinner also took the wicket of skipper Shoaib Malik and Andre Russel.
After facing an injury blow to their captain Mohammad Hafeez, Lahore Qalandars have a new leader in South Africa’s AB de Villiers and a replacement in the form of Salman Butt, who will be playing in his first high-profile tournament since his high-profile ban for a spot-fixing scandal which erupted on Pakistan’s 2010 tour of England.
The left-handed batsman, who represented Pakistan in 33 Tests, 78 one-day internationals and 24 T20 matches before his five-year ban, joined the Qalandars camp in Sharjah a day earlier and is expected to make his PSL debut today.
Qalandars have mainly been relying on their pace attack, which is made up of teen sensation Shaheen Shah Afridi, a resurgent Rahat Ali, and rising star Haris Rauf, who bowled his side to a dramatic victory –Qalandars’ only win out of three games so far – against Karachi Kings with a four-wicket haul.
Multan Sultans are in a similar boat, with only one win out of three matches despite the presence of star power in the form of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi. The Sultans lost to Karachi Kings in their opening fixture before coming back with a bang to defeat defending champions Islamabad United.
However, they stood no chance against table-toppers Quetta Gladiators who beat them by a comprehensive eight wickets on Wednesday as skipper Malik’s 53 off 37 balls went in vain.
Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi will face off in the second match later tonight.
Fakhar Zaman, Salman Butt, AB de Villiers (captain), Sohail Akhtar, Salman Agha, Brendan Taylor, David Wiese, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali
James Vince, Laurie Evans, Umar Siddiq, Shoaib Malik (captain), Dan Christian, Andre Russell, Hammad Azam, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Ilyas, Irfan Khan, Mohammad Irfan