Lahore Qalandars, for the first time ever, made it out of the round-robin stage of the Pakistan Super League, thanks to their win over leaders Multan Sultan at Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday.
The Qalandars, who had finished last in each of the first four PSL seasons and started this campaign with three straight losses too, used a 100-run opening stand from openers Fakhar Zaman (57) and Chris Lynn to track down the 187-run target set by the Sultans.
Lynn’s hammering did not finish there as he went on to score his first PSL century (off just 52 balls) and made sure that his side got past the finish line. He eventually finished with an unbeaten 113 — the highest individual score of PSL 2020 so far.
Earlier, a brilliant knock from Khushdil Shah in the second half of the innings helped the Sultans recover from a horrible start and post a sizable total of 186-6.
The league leaders were two down for just four runs in the second over, having lost Moeen Ali and Zeeshan Ashraf both. Shan Masood (42) and Ravi Bopara (33) stabilised the ship some but a decent score was still some way away.
The difficult was made possible by the late salvo of Khushdil, who hit a 29-ball 70 laced with half a dozen 6s and five 4s. It was his first half-century of the tournament and a badly needed one as the lefty’s willow had not produced runs despite being one of the more promising local talents around.
Lahore’s qualification means that defending champions Quetta Gladiators’ slim hopes of sneaking into the semi-finals got slimmer. The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side has to take on his hometown side Karachi Kings later tonight but Lahore’s qualification means that that fixture has been rendered a dead rubber.
For Quetta to leapfrog Peshawar, they will need to erase a massive NRR difference, which effectively, if not mathematically puts them out of contention.