Dubai: Ben Dunk, a little known wicketkeeper batsman from Queensland, Australia, destroyed champions Quetta Gladiators by cracking 93 off 43 balls and steer Lahore Qalandars to an impressive 37-run victory in the 16th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday night.
Few expected Dunk to play such a destructive knock, laced with 10 sixes and three boundaries, which helped Lahore post a mammoth 209 for five in 20 overs and record their first win in the PSL this season. He hit four consecutive sixes off Mohammad Nawaz in the 15th over to the joy of the fans. He broke the PSL record for the maximum sixes in an innings of eight - shared by Umar Akmal, Sharjeel Khan, Kevin Pietersen, Kamran Akmal and Colin Ingram. Dunk and Samit Patel, who also hit 71 off 40 balls with nine fours and two sixes, put on a 155-run partnership for the fourth wicket. It was nothing but sheer massacre of the Quetta bowling as 115 runs were scored from the final seven overs. When asked about how it felt to break the PSL record, Dunk said: “I did not realise I broke the PSL record but it is so nice to do it. All I did was to focus on the ball bowled to me and hit them. More happy at having helped my team win.”
Quetta, who chased the huge target, were bowled out for 172 runs in 20 overs despite Ben Cutting’s knock of 54 runs. Dunk, 32, was born in Innisfail in North Queensland and in the 90s, worked in a farm helping his father grow bananas for a living. He grew up as a strong well-built man due to the hard work he put on the farm. His friends used to play cricket in a backyard near the farm and he impressed everyone with his powerful shots.
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Soon, word got around about his natural talent in Innisfail and so Dunk moved to Brisbane and joined a cricket coaching programme. Being a strong lad, he was strong and also played rugby and his cricket and rugby skills earned him a scholarship. While studying at Grammar School, he graduated to higher levels of cricket and became a first class cricketer. He also went on to take a degree in business management amidst his cricket.
Dunk got picked into the Australian team for T20 Internationals and made his debut against South Africa in 2014. Though he played in only five international matches till 2017, he is much sought after in the T20 franchise leagues around the world. He got selected by Mumbai Indians to play in the Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League, Big Bash League and of course PSL.
Dunk arrived in Pakistan for this PSL after hitting an unbeaten 99 for Nelson Mandela Bay Giants off just 54 balls in the Mzansi Super League at Port Elizabeth. Brief scores: Lahore Qalandars bt Quetta Gladiators by 37 runs. Lahore 209 for 5 in 20 overs (Ben Dunk 93, Samit Patel 71; Ben Cutting 2 for 36) vs Quetta 172 in 20 overs (Ben Cutting 53; Salman Irshad 4 for 30) Man of the Match: Ben Dunk