Dubai: Defending champions Multan Sultans, led by Mohammed Rizwan, have given themselves a fair chance of back-to-back titles when they face Lahore Qalandars in the first Qualifier on Wednesday (February 23).
The winner of this match will directly qualify for the final on February 27 (Sunday) while the loser will face winner of the Eliminator 1 in the Eliminator 2. The second play-off (Eliminator 1) will be played between third and fourth placed Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United, respectively, on Thursday (February 24). The third play-off (Eliminator 2) will be played between loser of qualifier and the winner of eliminator 1 on Friday (February 25).
The curtains will be drawn on the seventh edition of IPL on Sunday, along with a glittering closing ceremony, at the Gaddafi Stadium.
In the last of the league matches on Monday, Peshawar Zalmi defeated Lahore Qalandars in Super Over in a thriller at the Gaddafi Stadium. The winning team achieved the target of six runs in one over on the second ball without losing a wicket. Batting first, Lahore scored a below-par five without any loss. Earlier, in the 30th match, Lahore had levelled the scores against Peshawar thanks to some breezy batting of Shaheen Shah Afridi, who blasted 23 runs in the last over of the match to level the scores.
Chasing a total of 159 for win, Lahore opener Fakhr Zaman, who scored six half-centuries in the tournament, returned to the pavilion without opening his account on the first ball of the innings. Lahore’s next few batsmen couldn’t stay on the crease for long and they needed 30 runs off the last 12 balls to win but Wahab Riaz snapped up the wickets of veteran Muhammad Hafeez and newcomer Haris Rauf on the first ball of the 19th over of the innings.
Peshawar captain Riaz won the toss and elected to bat first and scored 158 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the stipulated 20 overs. After the in-form opener Mohammad Haris was dismissed for an individual score of six, Hazratullah Zazai along with Kamran Akmal tried to resist by forming a partnership of 36 runs but he too was dismissed for 20 runs. Veteran batsman Shoaib Malik formed a 60-run partnership with young cricketer Haider Ali.