The left-arm quick dismissed Raza Hasan to complete only the second hat-trick in the tournament’s history
Multan Sultans 179 for 5 (Sangakkara 63, Malik 48) beat Lahore Qalandars 136 (Zaman 49, Junaid 3-24, Tahir 3-27) by 43 runs
In a nutshell
The third edition of the PSL began as inauspiciously for Lahore Qalandars as the first two, with Multan Sultans cruising to a 43-run win. Chasing a daunting 180, Lahore began shakily, despite a cameo from Sunil Narine. Brendon McCullum, batting at No. 3, holed out to third man without scoring, off his fifth delivery. Fakhar Zaman kept them in the hunt with a terrific innings, smashing 49 runs off 30 balls, but a spectacular catch by Ahmed Shehzad turned the game. That triggered a monumental collapse, with Junaid Khan taking a hat-trick as Lahore lost their last seven wickets for just four runs to fold meekly for 136.
Multan, who had been put in to bat, got off to a flying start, in part due to Lahore’s sloppy start: six wides and four byes were conceded in the first five overs. Kumar Sangakkara was in the same sparkling form that carried his side to victory on Thursday, mixing classical Test shots with modern T20 hitting. Lahore were never quite able to drag Multan back, with Shehzad and Shoaib Malik also making valuable contributions as they racked up the highest score of the tournament so far. At one stage, it looked like they would need all of those runs, but a late Lahore implosion meant they simply boosted their net run-rate.
Where the match was won
With Multan having set a steep target, the first Powerplay was crucial for both sides; not least because Lahore’s top order included Zaman, Narine and McCullum. However, a good start by Multan’s opening bowlers, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Irfan, meant Lahore weren’t able to get off to the fast start they so desperately needed. There was huge pressure on McCullum, who looked scratchy. When he carved one to third man, Lahore were 40 for 2 in the sixth over, with the asking rate already nearing 10 an over. For a top-heavy Lahore side, that was always going to be a tough task.
The men that won it
Kumar Sangakkara struck his second successive fifty, but Imran Tahir stood up for Multan when Lahore inched ahead. With 48 required in the last five overs and six wickets still in hand, Tahir came on to ball. Within five balls, he dismissed Sohail Akhtar, and Aamer Yamin. Both of them were bowled, but their wickets highlighted the range of Tahir’s variety. The first was a flipper that skidded on sharply, proving far too good for Akhtar. Yamin’s dismissal was a legspinner’s fantasy, pitching around leg stump and spinning at pace to hit middle and off. Yamin was nowhere near it, and from that point on, Lahore were nowhere near victory either.
Zaman presumably opens the batting to take full advantage of the fielding restrictions during the Powerplay, but that wasn’t quite how it panned out. In the first six overs, he faced just seven deliveries and scored 11 runs. It affected Lahore too; their required rate rose over nine quickly. Was it a calculated ploy by Multan to keep him at the non-striking end? Based on the evidence, there should be.
Moment of the match
These are the sort of games that allow whoever coined the phrase ‘catches win matches’ to feel smug. If ever there was a catch to win a match, Ahmed Shehzad’s diving effort to get rid of Zaman was it. Having smashed 49 off 29 balls, it looked like he was grabbing his side and hauling them over the line single-handedly. But when he charged out of his crease to hit Kieron Pollard through cover, his luck ran out. Shehzad rushed in at full speed from sweeper cover, lunged forward and plucked the ball inches from the ground. The relief is his celebration was palpable.
Where they stand
Multan move to the top of the table with two wins from two games, while Lahore Qalandars sit at the bottom on net run-rate after a heavy loss.