The fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) got off to an electric start at Dubai with Lahore Qalandars’ batsmen putting on a fine exhibition against Islamabad United’s bowlers in the tournament opener.
It was Lahore who batted first at Dubai with the Mohammad Hafeez led side putting up a daunting total of 171-8 in their 20 overs. At the forefront of Lahore’s efforts was opener Fakhar Zaman who wasted no time in bringing up the first half-century of PSL 4.
Here, we take a closer look at Fakhar’s incredible innings.
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BALLS FACED: 44
Having come into the tournament on the back of some poor showings for Pakistan in South Africa, Fakhar quickly rediscovered his groove with a smashing boundary off the very first delivery of PSL 4.
That was just the explosive left-hander getting warmed up before he launched spinners Samit Patel and Shadab Khan for huge sixes in the powerplay. Before Islamabad knew it, Fakhar had raced away to a 33-ball half-century inside just 10 overs.
He continued in the same vein after crossing the 50-run mark and tonked Shadab for another huge six before the leg-spinner ended his glorious stay by having him caught by Rizwan Hussain at point.
While the southpaw is equally capable of plundering runs on the off side as well as the on side, it was the latter he preferred on Friday and the move paid off handsomely for him.
Fakhar kept making room on the leg-side to good effect as he took his toll on Islamabad’s bowlers, especially the spinners. This led to the bowlers trying to cramp him up for room on the on-side but they overcompensated in that aspect, allowing Fakhar to collect some easy runs towards the vacant fine-leg region.
There was hardly anything that went wrong for Fakhar in his whirlwind stay at the crease save a rare outside edge off a slower delivery bowled by Waqas Mahmood. Luckily for the Lahore opener, the edge did not carry into the hands of Ronchi behind the stumps.
In the end, trying to smash every ball to the on-side proved to be Fakhar’s undoing with the opener dragging a delivery well outside off-stump into the hands of Rizwan.
VERDICT – 9/10
The Pakistan limited-overs stalwart’s confidence was at a low after the disastrous tour of South Africa but he showed it was only a minor dip by getting the PSL off to a rollicking start at Dubai.
From the very first delivery, Fakhar seemed on a mission to entertain and in the end, fans at the stadium were given their money’s worth with a knock littered with big hits to the fences.
The Lahore opener’s innings gave Lahore exactly the start they needed and had set up the platform perfectly for the remaining batsmen to profit at the death. Unfortunately for Fakhar, the rest of the batsmen failed to pick up the pieces with a flurry of late wickets undoing all the momentum.