Kolkata: The Pakistan Super League is headed towards the business-end with table-toppers Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi already assured of play-off berths while the two remaining ones will be decided in the last two league games on Saturday.
Lahore Qalandars, last year’s runners-up, meanwhile succumbed to a big 80-run loss to Multan Sultans in a league game in Abu Dhabi on Friday which saw the wiry Multan fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani finish with a dream haul of four wickets for five runs.
The fourth successive defeat has now pushed last year’s finalists, Lahore, in a tight corner in the race to the play-offs. Defending champion Karachi Kings could edge Lahore on better net run-rate if they beat bottom-placed Quetta Gladiators in their last league game on Saturday. Islamabad takes on Multan in their last league game on Saturday,
Despite fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s brilliant performance for 3-23 for Lahore, Multan managed to put up a strong total of 169-8. Chasing the target, Lahore stumbled against Dhani’s pace to be bowled out for a paltry 89 in 15.1 overs, losing their last seven wickets for just 41 runs.
Sohaib Maqsood scored yet another brilliant 60 off 40 balls, but it was the little cameo by veteran Sohail Tanvir (29 off nine) balls that gave Multan’s total heft. Tanvir smacked Haris Rauf for three fours and two sixes in the last over.
Lahore lost their three key batsmen within the batting powerplay: Ben Dunk (5), Fakhar Zaman (13) and Mohammad Hafeez (14) all falling to pace. When Imran Tahir had captain Sohail Akhtar (5) stumped in the 10th over, Dhani returned to take three more wickets and wrap up the innings quickly.