LAHORE: Sikandar Raza’s splendid 34-ball 71 not out helped Lahore Qalandars to a miraculous 17-run win over Quetta Gladiators on Thursday night at the Gaddafi Stadium. Lahore Qalandars were seven down for only 50 at the halfway stage of their innings, but Sikandar’s sparkling innings propelled them to 148 after which an outstanding show with the ball restricted Quetta Gladiators to 131 for seven.
Lahore Qalandars lost four wickets for only 28 runs inside the Powerplay and by the end of the eighth over, they had half of their batters back in the pavilion after Quetta Gladiators inserted the hosts. But in an incredible rearguard effort, Sikandar pulled his side back in the contest, playing at a strike rate of 209.
The all-rounder put a 69-run stand with Rashid Khan who, with his 21 off 20, provided the desired stability from the other end. The pair took on the charge in the 13th over when they snatched 19 runs off Umaid Asif’s over. Sikandar dispatched Naveen-ul-Haq for three fours in the next over and hit Naseem Shah for another two in the 15th.
Rashid holed out in the 16th and that resumed the fall of wickets. Sikandar smoked two fours and a six towards the end of the innings to give his bowlers a respectable total to defend before Zaman Khan’s run out at the non-striker’s end in the last over brought an end to the innings. In total, Sikandar hit eight fours and three sixes.
Quetta Gladiators cruised to 53 in the Powerplay with Will Smeed playing the role of aggressor, but the dismissal of both openers in a span of six balls derailed what promised to be a smooth sail. Haris Rauf dismissed Yasir Khan on the last ball of the sixth in what was a brilliant over and Smeed fell to Rashid Khan on the last ball of the seventh.
From the end of the Powerplay to the beginning of the 12th, Quetta Gladiators could muster only 11 runs but at the cost of three wickets. Sarfaraz Ahmed made a consolation 27 not out off 28 balls, but failed to get any support as Haris sent back Odean Smith and Mohammad Nawaz.
Haris finished with three for 22 and Rashid took two wickets for 14.