Dubai: Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars reached the semi-finals of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) through sterling performances from their opening batsmen.
Lahore’s opener Chris Lynn’s unbeaten 113 off just 55 balls gave his team a nine-wicket win over Multan Sultans on Sunday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, while Karachi opener Sharjeel Khan’s blitz of 37 from just 14 balls defeated Islamabad United by four wickets at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday night.
Lynn, who had displayed his hard-hitting skills in the recent Abu Dhabi T10 tournament to walk away with the man of the series award, carried his form to PSL too. His knock contained eight sixes and 12 boundaries and helped Lahore chase Multan’s impressive total of 187-6 in 20 overs.
Lynn got good support from his opening partner Fakhar Zaman (57) and together they put on 100 runs in 8.6 overs. After Zaman got out stumped by wicketkeeper Zeeshan Ashraf off Usman Qadir, Sohail Akhtar joined Lynn and hit an unbeaten 19 to ensure the victory with seven balls to spare.
Multan’s impressive total was made through Khushdil Shah’s unbeaten 70 off 29 balls with five boundaries and six sixes and captain Shan Masood’s 42 runs.
On Saturday, all hopes of Islamabad, who were restricted to 136-6 in 20 overs, crashed before Sharjeel’s knock. Sharjeel showed how destructive he is as a batsman - and deserves to be in the Pakistan’s squad for the Twenty20 World Cup - through this knock. He hit 32 runs off the first nine balls during his 14-ball stay. Though he fell in the fifth over, he placed Karachi on the road to victory with a 60-run opening partnership in 4.6 overs with Babar Azam (19).
Sharjeel was instrumental in Karachi’s 10-wicket win over Lahore Qalandars on Thursday night too. He cracked a breezy 74 runs to announce that he is in top form on return from his three-year ban for spot-fixing.
Karachi skipper Imad Wasim ensured that the momentum is maintained through a knock of 26 runs despite losing Cameron Delport (11) Iftikhar Ahmed (1) Chadwicket Walton (11). Umaid Asif (13 no) and Chris Jordan (6 no) helped their team reach the target with four balls to spare.
Islamabad would have been shot out for even smaller score but for Hussain Talat’s 37 runs and opener Philip’s Salt’s 25 runs.
Lahore Qalandars bt Multan Sultans by 9 wkts
Multan 186-6 in 20 overs (Shan Masood 42, Ravi Bopara 33, Kushdil Shah 70 no, Rohail Nazir 24, Shaheen Afridi 2-23, David Wiese 2-24)
Lahore 191-1 in 18.5 overs (Fakhar Zaman 57, Chris Lynn 113n.o)
Karachi Kings bt Islamabad United by 4 wkts
Islamabad 136-6 in 20 overs (Philip Salt 25, Hussain Talat 37)
Karachi 137-6 in 19.2 overs (Sharjeel Khan 37; Shadab Khan 2-28)