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Lahore Qalanders vs Islamabad United 17th Feb 2016

Second match of the night between Lahore Qalanders (LQ) and Islamabad United (IU). This was a must win match for LQ. 20th of Pakistan Super league and last match of group stage played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Among little but buzzing crowd, Misbah ul Haq won the toss and asked Lahore Qalanders to bat first. Azhar Ali opened the inning and was very cautious in his approach. From the other end Mohammad Irfan was running in, looking in rhythm and bowling at good pace. He was coming back in the team after sitting out for some matches, started off with 2 wide balls. He quickly adjusted his line and got out Azhar Ali, captain of LQ, at the last ball of the first over. Delport who was on 3rd number as most runs scorer in this Pakistan Super League was caught at slip by Raees in 2nd over of the match. In quick time Qalanders was 7 for 3 in 3 overs. Irfan got wicket keeper batsman Rizwan for a duck.

Umar Akmal walked in next and for slowly started to build the score and develop partnership with Sohaib Maqsood. Maqsood hit a six and four in last over of the power play, bowled by Azhar Mehmood, at the end of 6th over score was mere 28/3, lowest in the tournament in first six overs. Both batsmen kept on building slowly, nudging singles and hitting fours occasionally. Sohaib Maqsood reached his fifty in 15th over when he drove a short ball to cover bowled by Ajmal. Umar Akmal started the 16th over with a six but in that over Irfan took Maqsood and done his work in 4 overs, took 3 important wickets conceding just 22 runs. Lahore was 103 for 4 at that time. Akmal continues to rotate the strike and hit Raees for a six and four in 18th over. In next over Bravo smashed Azhar Mehmood for a six over midwicket. Umar Akmal gain hit Raees for a six and four in the last over and Qaladers lost Bravo but managed to get 150 for the loss of five wickets. Umar Akmal played well again and scored 72 runs at the strike rate of almost 147, hitting 3 sixes and 5 fours. Mohammad Irfan was the star performer for United.

Dwayne Smith and Sharjeel Khan opened for Islamabad. Smith stoke second ball of the first over for four bowled by Adil but got out in next over. Zia ul Haq was the bowler who manged to a bowl a ball close to the body and Smith edged it to the keeper.  In 3rd over, Adnan Rasool missed a high catch, running backwards, on the bowling of Adil, hit by Khan. Zia made the amend by taking the wicket of Sharjeel in his 2nd over. Meanwhile, Brad Haddin hit Zia ul Haq for two 4s in the same over. Khalid and Haddin keep on building the innings and hitting occasional four and six before Latif got run out amid confusion. As Haddin hit a ball towards extra cover while coming down the track, fielder muddle around the ball, causing confusion and a throw at keepers end results in Latif being given out.  Islamabad United captain Misbah Ul Haq came in to bat at that point where Islamabad needed a strong partnership to win the match. The captain started off with a four. Azhar Ali, Lahore Qalander’s captain, brought Zia to bowl 15th over and Misbah stroke three back to back boundaries in that over before Hadding also got runout in the same over.  Misbah was striking the ball well and score at rate of above 200. He gave a chance to Qalanders in 17th over, to get back in the match, when he miscued a pull but Zia didn’t manage to reach the ball and opportunity wasted. Twenty three runs was required from 18 balls at that point in the match. Azhar and Misbha knocked off three for in 19th over as Misbah scored the winning runs on Mendis. Mishbah scored 38 runs of 19 balls. Zia ul Haq 2 wickets for 38.

Once again Lahore Qalander’s fielding cost them a very important match. They were the second most expensive team of the event but could not move to the next round. Mohammad Irfan was the man of the match for his performance. He expressed having difficulties in earlier matches but with the help of ‘Wasim Bhai’ he is able to get good results. He said he is feeling fit and perform well in coming matches. Now we have four team namely Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United and Karachi Kings for the playoffs in Pakistan Super League, starting from 19th Feb, 2016.

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