Rashid Khan Steals The Show As Lahore Thump Multan To Secure Playoff Berth
Sam Billings top-scored for Lahore [Source: Twitter]
For the second time in the season, Lahore Qalandars outclassed Multan Sultans to qualify for the playoffs of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season eight. Rashid Khan and Sam Billings starred in Lahore Qalandars' 21-run win.
Billings' onslaught forces Multan bowlers into submission
Opting to bat first, the Qalandars got off to a dismal start as their in-form opener Fakhar Zaman departed for a duck in the first over of the match.
Fakhar's opening partner Abdullah Shafique launched a counterattack by playing some masterful strokes as he forged a 50-run stand with Tahir Baig.
It was at the end of the fifth over that Ihsanullah undid Tahir with his extra pace. Sam Billings came in at 4 and provided superb company to Shafique, who kept playing his shots.
Shafique, who was dropped by Kieron Pollard off Usama Mir's bowling, continued to coast at 9+ runs per over. Billings and Shafique added 69 runs at a great rate to set a launchpad for the big hitters.
Pollard denied Shafique his half-century with a stunning caught and bowled. He fell just two runs short of his half-century as he scored a 35-ball 48, laced up with six boundaries and a six.
The Caribbean legend further removed Billings a few overs later as Multan seemed to pull back things. The in-form Sikandar Raza looked threatening but Ihsanullah was brought back and Multan's strike bowler trapped the right-hander in front.
Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals and eventually, the Qalandars ended with 180 in their allotted 20 overs.
Pollard, Ihsanullah, Anwar Ali, and Abbas Afridi scalped two wickets each, while Sameen Gul bagged a single wicket for Multan.
Rashid's three-fer derails Multan's innings
Unlike Qalandars, Sultans' openers Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood started well, finishing the powerplay at 44/0.
That was the only time they appeared to be in the hunt. Masood's struggle came to an end with Zaman Khan's slower one outfoxing him with a well-disguised slower ball.
Multan decided to experiment then by sending Usama Mir at No.3 ahead of in-form Rilee Rossouw and David Miller.
But the move backfired and it put pressure on skipper Rizwan to go after the bowling. In the process, he lost his wicket to Sikandar Raza.
Thereafter, Usama got a couple of hits out of the middle but then Rashid Khan came back and got rid of him when he was looking dangerous.
The ace leggie from Afghanistan started to run riot as he trapped David Miller in front before castling Rilee Rossouw.
In no time, the visitors slipped to 87-5 and from that point, it was never going to be easy to make a comeback in the game.
The required run rate kept increasing and Multan kept losing wickets at crucial intervals of the game to put a full stop to Multan's innings.
Pollard tried to win the game single-handedly but could only manage to reduce the margin of defeat. He got out on the penultimate ball of the innings as Multan's innings came to a tame end.
Lahore Qalandars: 180-9 (20)
Sam Billings 54 (35), Abdullah Shafique 48 (35);
Keiron Pollard 2-16, Anwar Ali 2-21
Multan Sultans: 159-7 (20)
Keiron Pollard 39 (28), Mohammad Rizwan 30 (27);
Rashid Khan 3-15, Haris Rauf 1-30
Lahore Qalandars won by 21 runs.