Rashid Khan, the leg spinning allrounder who made his debut in Pakistan Super League (PSL) for Lahore Qalandars on Sunday, made his presence felt from the word go. The Afghan’s prowess with both bat and ball and fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s three-wicket haul paved the way for their four-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi in the first match of the day at National Stadium in Karachi.
Chasing Peshawar’s total of 140 for six, Rashid hit a quickfire, unbeaten 27 off 15 balls that included a winning six over midwicket to help Lahore cruise to 146-6 in 18.3 overs to give last year’s finalists a winning start.
“I call that shot the mini-helicopter, just try to go for it,” said Rashid, who will be playing in just one more PSL game before joining Afghanistan for their series against Zimbabwe.
“The best thing is to finish it off with the bat and I got an opportunity today,” he said.
Sent into bat, Zalmi were off to a disastrous start when the lanky Afridi had Pakistan opener Inam-ul-Haq caught behind off the very first ball after Lahore skipper Sohail Akhtar won the toss and elected to field.
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik (26) was caught behind off South African seamer David Wiese to leave Peshawar struggling at 46 for four as early as in the eighth over. Coming on to bowl the middle overs, Rashid’s figures of 4-0-14-0 was instrumental in keeping things tight for the rival batsmen.
Ravi Bopara, the journeyman from England resurrected the Zalmi innings with a fighting half-century (50 off 44 balls) and added 64 runs with West Indian Sherfane Rutherford (26) before Afridi returned in the final overs and dismissed both batsmen to restrict Peshawar.
Beginning their chase, Lahore were cruising along at 109 for four but Saqib Mahmood (2-22) caused a brief jolt with the wickets of Samit Patel (8) and Wiese off successive deliveries in the 16th over.
Rashid, however, ensured Lahore didn’t slip as he did the bulk of the scoring with the experienced Mohammad Hafeez finishing at 33 not out.
“I think it was a good start from their bowling,” Peshawar skipper Wahab Riaz said. “There was a little bit in the wicket and the bowlers utilised it really well. The (batsmen) should have taken a little bit more time, but I think the positive was the way Shoaib, Ravi and Rutherford played.”
Brief Scores: Peshawar Zalmi 140 for six off 20 overs (R.Bopara 50; S. Afridi 3/14) vs Lahore Qalandars 143 for six off 18.3 overs (M. Hafeez 33 n.o., R.Khan 27 n.o.; S.Mahmood 2/22). Lahore won by four wickets.