HBL Pakistan Super League: Shahnawaz powers Sultans past Qalandars, into final
LAHORE: Just when Fakhar Zaman was threatening to take the game away from them, Multan Sultans took a strategic timeout.
Shahnawaz Dahani, who was going to bowl the over that resumed play at a roaring Gaddafi Stadium, was given instructions by fast bowling coach Ottis Gibson.
An animated Sultans captain Mohammad Rizwan was taking consultations from head coach Andy Flower and spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed.
The discussions in that three-minute break turned the game back in favour of the holders, taking them into Sunday’s final and silencing the capacity crowd rooting for the Qalandars.
A wicket fell in each of the next six overs bowled by Shahnawaz, David Willey and Rumman Raees as the Qalandars, chasing 165, slumped from 99-3 to finish on 135-9 in the Qualifier on Wednesday night.
It was Shahnawaz who engineered Qalandars’ downfall. His sharp inswinger caught Harry Brook (13) plumb in front of the wicket.
The next over Willey sent back Fakhar (63), the leading run-scorer this season, to all but end Qalandars hopes. Having restricted Fakhar and Samit Patel to singles off the first four deliveries, Willey’s length delivery struck the former on the pads as he went for a big pull.
With Qalandars needing to go all out, Phil Salt went when he mistimed Shahnawaz to Aamer Azmat at deep midwicket.
Patel was the next one to fall with Shahnawaz taking a sharp catch off Willey, also at deep midwicket.
Shahnawaz returned with a perfect yorker to smash the middle stump of Qalandars captain Shaheen Shah Afridi, who had forced a Super Over against Peshawar Zalmi with his superb hitting in the final game of the round-robin stage.
The end was nigh for Qalandars and Rumman Raees had David Wiese lbw in the second-to-last over, leaving Qalandars needing 36 off the last six balls.
Haris Rauf hit a six off the first delivery of the final over off Shahnawaz but repeating that off the next five was too much to ask for.
For a title showdown against the Sultans, they will have to win Friday’s match against the winners of Thursday’s Eliminator.
Sultans’ 28-run victory margin was a flattering one especially after Fakhar had the Qalandars’ tails up before the timeout.
Having lost opener Abdullah Shafique early in their chase, the Qalandars were rocked in the space of six deliveries as Kamran Ghulam (20) was run out and Mohammad Hafeez went for a duck, stumped by Rizwan off Khushdil Shah.
The Sultans seemed to have tightened the leash around the Qalandars. But Fakhar broke loose.
Imran Tahir was smashed for three successive sixes in the 12th over — the first just crossing the midwicket fence but the next two were well and truly massive, over extra cover and deep midwicket.
Khushdil was then hit for another six in the following over by Fakhar and the Qalandars seemed well set to chase down the target with seven overs to go.
But then came the timeout and the Sultans came storming back.
“Our coaches told us that as the champion team, this is the time to hit back and make it count,” Rizwan said in the post-match interview. “We went back onto the field knowing that we had to give our all and we did.”
Earlier, it had seemed the Sultans hadn’t put enough runs on the board after they failed to accelerate at the end of their innings despite losing just two wickets, and with Rizwan and Rilee Rossouw scoring unbeaten half-centuries.
After the in-form Shan Masood was trapped lbw by Hafeez early on, Rizwan (53 not out) and Aamer Azmat (33) took the Sultans to 50 in the seventh over where Patel brought the end of the latter.
Aamer had hit five fours in his 22-ball knock but perished when he came down the wicket to Patel but after the delivery spun away from him, Salt got him stumped.
Rizwan and Rossouw (65 not out) only took the total to 65 by the halfway stage of the innings with Qalandars bowlers doing well to dry out the runs.
The next five overs saw just five boundaries — four by Rossouw and one by Rizwan — but the duo kept taking singles and doubles to push the score to 110.
It was in the 17th over when the first six of the match was finally struck, with Rossouw celebrating reaching his fifty with a four on the previous delivery by lifting Haris over midwicket.
That should’ve provided the impetus to the Sultans but back came the Qalandars.
Shaheen gave away just one four in the penultimate over which saw Rizwan complete his half-century before Haris came back strongly to restrict the Sultans to singles only after the first ball of the final over was hit to the long-off fence by Rossouw.
“It was a difficult pitch and we knew once we got to 150 that it was a total we could defend,” said Rizwan.
That conviction ultimately took them through as they look to become the first repeat winners of the HBL Pakistan Super League.
Batters & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Shan Masood lbw b Mohammad Hafeez 2 5 0 0 40.00
Mohammad Rizwan not out 53 51 3 0 103.92
Aamer Azmat st Salt b Patel 33 22 5 0 150.00
Rilee Rossouw not out 65 42 7 1 154.76
EXTRAS (LB-6, W-4) 10
TOTAL (for two wickets, 20 overs) 163
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-3 (Shan), 2-50 (Aamer).
DID NOT BAT: Johnson Charles, Khushdil Shah, David Willey, Asif Afridi, Rumman Raees, Imran Tahir, Shahnawaz Dahani.
BOWLING: Shaheen 4-0-31-0 (1w), Hafeez 4-0-16-1, Patel 4-0-31-1 (1w), Zaman 3-0-34-0 (1w), Haris 4-0-34-0, Wiese 1-0-11-0.
Batters & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Fakhar Zaman lbw b Willey 63 45 2 4 140.00
Abdullah Shafique lbw b Asif 5 8 1 0 62.50
Kamran Ghulam run out (Shan) 20 17 2 0 117.64
Mohammad Hafeez st Rizwan b Khushdil 0 3 0 0 0.00
Harry Brook lbw b Dahani 13 12 1 0 108.33
Samit Patel c Dahani b Willey 11 11 1 0 100.00
Phil Salt c Aamer b Dahani 1 3 0 0 33.33
David Wiese lbw b Rumman 8 7 0 0 114.28
Shaheen Shah Afridi b Dahani 1 3 0 0 33.33
Haris Rauf not out 7 7 0 1 100.00
Zaman Khan not out 0 4 0 0 0.00
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-2, W-3) 6
TOTAL (for nine wickets, 20 overs) 135
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-17 (Shafique), 2-47 (Kamran), 3-48 (Hafeez), 4-102 (Brook), 5-108 (Fakhar), 6-109 (Salt), 7-122 (Patel), 8-124 (Shaheen), 9-128 (Wiese).
BOWLING: Asif 4-0-23-1 (1w), Willey 3-0-23-2, Rumman 3-0-15-1, Khushdil 3-0-23-1, Tahir 3-0-29-0, Dahani 4-0-19-3 (1w).
RESULT: Multan Sultans won by 28 runs.
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Richard Illingworth (England).
TV UMPIRE: Michael Gough (England).
MATCH REFEREE: Roshan Mahanama (Sri Lanka).
Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2022