Nepal’s leg-spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane produced the best bowling figures so far of his globetrotting franchise cricket career helping Lahore Qalandars crush table-toppers Quetta Gladiators by eight wickets in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Wednesday.
Lamichhane, who is into his sixth professional league and playing 32nd Twenty20 of a nomadic career, picked up 4-10 off four overs to rip apart Qalandars who were bundled out for just 106 in 19.1 overs. Qalandars, in reply, reached 107-2 in 16.3 overs to earn a crucial win to go fourth.
Gladiators were going well after Ahsan Ali struck Yasir Shah for 20 runs in the third over. Lamichhane stepped in to bowl the fourth over and began his onslaught. He struck in his fourth ball trapping Shane Watson leg before wicket conceding just three runs in that over.
The Nepali teen returned in the sixth to leave the Gladiators camp shell-shocked. He removed dangerous man Rilee Rossouw with a googly as the South African left hander scooped a catch at point to David Wiese at point. Pakistani Umar Akmal was his next victim castling his stumps with another googly. He conceded just two runs in the second over that fetched Qalandars two wickets.
Qalandars skipper AB de Villiers continued with Lamichhane in the eighth over and the faith was repaid after he had Danish Aziz dismissed. Aziz tried to reverse sweep Lamichhane but gloved the catch at first slip to Haris Sohail. He gave away just three runs in the third over. Gladiators lost opener Ali (33) to run out in the 9th over to get reduced to 53-5, losing five wickets in a space of 20 runs.
Man-of-the-match Lamichhane continuously bowled his fourth over in a continuous spell giving away just two runs as the leggie returned with the best bowling figures of PSL so far. He has so far picked up eight wickets from three matches having started the tournament with the figures of 3-46 against Multan Sultans.
Wednesday’s figures for Lamichhane is also the best of his franchise cricket career bettering 3-11 that he took against Sydney Sixers in the Australian Big Bash League (BBL) for tournament runners-up Melbourne Stars. He had taken 11 wickets from eight matches in the BBL. Lamichhane, who will now join Delhi Capitals for a second stint in the Indian Premier League, has so far taken 38 wickets in the Twenty20s—all of them franchise cricket.
De Villier and Haris Sohail completed an easy chase for Qalandars after the loss of two early wickets. De Villiers struck anunbeaten 47 off 38 with seven boundaris, while Sohail scored 33 not out off 42 balls.