In the 18th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight, Lahore Qalandars achieved a convincing 17-run victory over Quetta Gladiators, thanks to a remarkable batting performance by Sikandar Raza and an impressive bowling display from Haris Rauf and Rashid Khan.
After being put into bat first, Lahore Qalandars got off to a poor start, losing seven wickets for just 50 runs in the first 10 overs. However, Sikandar Raza played a fighting knock of 71 off just 34 deliveries, laced with eight boundaries and three sixes, to rescue his team and take them to a commendable total of 148 before they were bowled out in the final over.
In pursuit of the target, Quetta Gladiators’ openers Will Smeed and young Yasir Khan scripted a flying start for their side, raising 50 runs within the power-play before Haris Rauf provided a much-needed breakthrough to the Qalandars by dismissing Yasir on 14. Yasir’s dismissal triggered a match-defining collapse, causing the Gladiators to slip to 80/5 in the 14th over.
Gladiators’ skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed then looked to anchor the run chase with a brief 25-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Odean Smith (11) but remained a touch slow in the process, causing the required run rate to climb sharply. The Gladiators, in dire need of big hits, failed to charge against a tight bowling display from Qalandars in the death overs and eventually ended up 17 runs short.
Gladiators’ captain Sarfaraz remained not out with his cautious 27 off 28, while Will Smeed top-scored for the side with 32 off 25 balls, hitting six boundaries. Haris led the bowling attack for the Qalandars with 3/22 followed by Rashid Khan with 2/14, while David Wiese made one scalp.
In the end, it was Sikandar Raza’s brilliant batting and the tight bowling of Haris and Rashid that powered the Lahore Qalandars to a convincing victory over the Quetta Gladiators. The Gladiators now find themselves on the verge of an early exit from the PSL extravaganza.