Sandeep Lamichhane sparkled with red cherry to record his best figures in all Twenty20 cricket as Lahore Qalandars crushed Quetta Gladiators by eight wickets in their Pakistan Super League (PSL) match at Dubai International Stadium here on Wednesday. The 18-year-old from Nepal clinched four wickets for just 10 runs in his four overs as Quetta — put into bat by Lahore — were bowled out for 106 in 19.1 overs. The meager target proved a cake-walk for Lahore as they raced home in 16.3 overs with AB de Villiers scoring an undefeated 38-ball 47 and Haris Sohail notched 42-ball 33 not out. The defeat is Quetta’s second successive after winning four straight games. They still topped the table with eight points (four wins, two defeats in six games) while the win lifted Lahore to fourth with three wins, three losses and six points in six matches. Peshawar Zalmi are second with six points (three wins and two defeats in five matches), Islamabad United are third (six points in six matches, three wins and three defeats). Multan Sultans are fifth with four points (four losses and two wins in six matches) and Karachi Kings are sixth (four points with two wins, three defeats in five matches).
Chasing the target, Lahore were off to a poor start when Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman, leading the side in this game, fell in the first over for two. Gauhar Ali made a rapid 21 before he too fell. But Sohail, playing his first game since returning from the tour of South Africa in December last year, added 74 runs for the unfinished third wicket stand with De Villiers. Sohail hit three boundaries and De Villiers cracked seven hits to the rope. Lamichhane said he was pleased with his performance. “I am very happy,” said Lamichanne. Captain asked me to bowl in the power-play and I am happy that I fulfilled the confidence of my captain.”
Earlier, Quetta’s batting was in disarray against some quality spin of Lamichhane, with opener Ahsan Ali (25-ball 33 with two sixes and three boundaries) and Sarfraz Ahmed (27-ball 29 with just a boundary) were the main run-getters. Lamichhane, whose previous best of 3-11 came for Melbourne Stars against Sydney Strikers on February 10 this year in the Big Bash League, broke the 33-run opening stand by trapping Shane Watson leg before for seven. He struck a double blow in his second over with wickets of Rilee Rossouw (seven) and Umar Akmal (one) as Quetta were left reeling at 3-45. It became 4-47 when Danish Aziz tried a reverse sweep off Lamichhane and was caught in the slip. Ahsan was run out in the ninth over as it was left to skipper Sarfraz to fight for recovery. Sarfraz added 33 for the sixth wicket with Mohammad Nawaz who made 12. But wasn’t enough as Yasir Shah had Sarfraz while Haris Rauf grabbed wickets of Nawaz and Fawad Ahmed to finnish with figures of 2-23.
MIRZA IQBAL BAIG