By Jawad Hussain
KARACHI, March 11, 2019 (SNN247.com) – Multan Sultans finally played like Sultans to outclass the struggling Lahore Qalandars in a one-sided match of the Pakistan Super League 2019 by seven wickets at National Stadium in Karachi on Monday.
It was the last match for both the teams in the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League. The match was a dead rubber since it had no impact on the tournament and both of the participating teams were already out of the reckoning. However, the massive defeat pushed Lahore Qalandars to the last position for the fourth straight year in the Pakistan Super League. The Sultans managed to scoop up from the last position to finish the tournament on the fifth position.
Medium-pace bowler Mohammad Abbas yet again proved his worth with the ball as he clinched yet another Player of the Match award, thanks to gritty and disciplined bowling. Abbas finished with figures of 3/22 from his four overs.
Lahore Qalandars skipper Fakhar Zaman (53 runs from 36 balls – 8 fours, 1 six) led from the front but lacked support from his top-order batsmen. Rikki Wessels (4 runs from 10 balls – 1 four) struggled miserably during the course of his stay in the middle. Sohail Akhtar (5 runs from 8 balls – 1 four), who looked in a punishing form in the previous match, looked completely out of sorts. Haris Sohail (7 runs from 12 balls) also looked unimpressive whereas Saad Ali (8 runs from 9 balls) also failed to make an impact.
David Wiese (30 runs from 22 balls – 2 fours, 2 sixes) provided some late impetus to the innings as Lahore Qalandars finished with 8/140 from their 20 overs.
Mohammad Abbas (3/22) led the impressive bowling effort by Shoaib Malik’s men whereas Shahid Afridi (2/18) also made his presence felt in probably his last match at National Stadium in Karachi.
Umer Siddiq (13 runs from 7 balls – 2 sixes) and James Vince (25 runs from 14 balls – 2 fours, 2 sixes) got Multan Sultans off to a rollicking start. Shan Masood (48 runs from 25 balls – 8 fours, 1 six) and Johnson Charles (41* runs from 25 balls – 5 fours, 2 sixes) made sure the Sultans finish a sorry PSL campaign on a promising note.
Shoaib Malik, who is all set to lead Pakistan in the upcoming five-match One Day International series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates later this month, would take a deep breath with such a big win under his belt.
His side had mixed fortunes during the course of their PSL-4 campaign. They finished with four victories from their 10 matches this year, very much similar to their last year’s performance. They were struck hard by the exclusion of Australia’s Steve Smith and West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell. While Smith failed to join the team due to an injury, Russell represented the Multan Sultans during their initial matches of the PSL-4. However, the West Indian all-rounder failed to make an impact as he had been nursing an injury which stopped him from going full-throttle.
On the other hand, Lahore Qalandars were never able to explode, thanks to some poor management decisions and their inability to use the overseas players profoundly. Something that was totally in contrast with Islamabad United, who used their overseas players to a great effect this year. Lahore Qalandars had three skippers this season. Pakistani all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez was given the responsibility to lead the team and change their fortunes in the six-team competition. However, he broke his finger to hand the captaincy to South African legend AB de Villiers, who looked mercurial for a few games before leaving the side in the peril.
As AB de Villiers pulled out of the Pakistan-leg of the Pakistan Super League 2019, the burden of captaincy fell on young shoulders of Fakhar Zaman, who never looked like a tailor-made personality for a leader. He not only failed to inspire the team from his performances, but also lacked the inability to use his key players in the key moments. This all resulted in yet another miserable season for Lahore Qalandars. The management needs to sort out a world of issues, including the selection of players, including usage of the local young talent.