Dubai: Lahore Qalandars gave AB de Villiers a birthday gift by winning the late match against Karachi Kings on Saturday night.
The recently retired ‘AB’, who turned 35 on Saturday night, cut the celebratory cake soon after the match.
The fans got to see the legendary South African batsman not only play for Lahore Qalandars but also captain the team after regular captain Mohammad Hafeez was forced to return to the pavilion after an injury to the finger.
De Villiers scored 24 runs in the first match against Islamabad but fell for just three runs against Karachi to a 19-year-old Umer Khan.
De Villiers proved to be the lucky captain as his team went on to defeat Karachi Kings by 22 runs in the fifth match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Dubai International Stadium.
A smiling De Villiers, who failed to shine with the bat, said after the match: “It was a good win through an impressive bowling attack.”
The battle of the two big Pakistan cities turned out to be a well fought one because after Lahore were restricted to 138 for six, it was their bowlers who fought back and bowled out Karachi Kings for 116.
“It was a privilege to represent Lahore and then captaining for a few overs,” said De Villiers, who despite playing in PSL for the first time, knew beforehand about his good bowlers and how to use them.
He went on to hail his pacer Haris Rauf, who produced a fine spell of four for 23 to win the match. “Rauf was impressive and his is an interesting story that how he played cricket in the first place,” said De Villiers, who wants his team to capitalise on the victory after having lost the opening match of the PSL to Islamabad United.
“We have a wonderful mix of youth and experience. We hope to go all the way,” said De Villiers, who has already announced that he will play the Pakistan leg of the PSL.
De Villiers scored 24 runs in the first match against Islamabad but fell for just three runs against Karachi to a 19-year-old left-arm spinner Umer Khan.
Khan could not contain his joy at getting De Villiers’ wicket and said after the match: “It was my dream to bowl against De Villiers. I got to do it and I am thrilled at getting his wicket too. It is a great moment of my life,” said the youngster.
De Villiers’ presence in the Lahore dressing room has been a big boost for star batsman Fakhar Zaman too. “I consider myself fortunate that I’m sharing the dressing room with a legend like AB de Villiers. He is my favourite player. I watch him every day on the nets and I have a lot of questions to ask him in the coming days,” said Zaman.
Hafeez, who praised the South African for his committed fielding at the long off to save a boundary, said that a big knock from De Villiers is around the corner. “He is one of the most respected cricketers in the world. He is a proven performer, who has added a new dimension to batting in white-ball cricket,” said Hafeez.