PSL-Fakhar Zaman
Pakistan international Fakhar Zaman cuts this one on way to a blazing 82 for Lahore Qalandars against Quetta Gladiators on Monday. Image Credit: Twitter

Fakhar Zaman, the attacking Pakistan opener and veteran Mohammad Hafeez made light of a challenging target by Quetta Gladiators as Lahore Qalandars won back-to-back matches in the opening week of Pakistan Super League in Karachi on Monday evening.

Chasing a target of 179 to win, the left-handed Zaman picked up the tempo early on with a 82 off 52 deliveries while former Pakistan captain Hafeez showed a big hunger for runs with a blisterting 73 off 33 balls to build a match-winning partnership of 115 runs off only 58 balls.

Zaman and skipper Sohail Akhtar began the chase at a brisk pace before the latter was bowled by leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood. In walked Hafeez, nicknamed ‘The Professor’ in cricketing circles, and the duo helped the team race to 131 by the 15th over without any more loss of wickets.

Hafeez was particularly severe on the bowlers as he smashed six sixes and five fours, including the winning runs with a boundary through the covers to hand Quetta their second successive loss in the six-team event.

‘‘The ball was coming nicely onto the bat and we always knew we will chase it down,’’ Sohail Akhtar said later. ‘‘Hafeez and Fakhar paced the run chase very well and it was an outstanding performance.’’

Earlier, after being put into bat, the irrepresible Chris Gayle made the most of two dropped chances as he scored a characteristic 68 and anchored Quetta to 178 for the loss of six wickets.

The ‘Universe Boss,’ dropped in the 20s by Agha Salman at deep mid-wicket, hit five fours and five sixes before Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan castled him in the 15th over. Gayle shared 101-run stand with captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was among the runs with a brisk 40 off 31 balls before getting a top edge off a mistimed pull against paceman Haris Rauf, who took 3-38.