Zalmi’s one-dimensional bowling enabled Qalandars to make a winning comeback: Hafeez

Zalmi’s one-dimensional bowling enabled Qalandars to make a winning comeback: Hafeez

KARACHI: Senior pro Mohammad Hafeez has said that Peshawar Zalmi’s one-dimensional bowling was the key difference which enabled Lahore Qalandars jettison the 2017 Pakistan Super League champions’ dream of winning the fifth edition of the franchised-based Twenty20 tournament late on Saturday night.

The Pakistan veteran played a pivotal role with an undefeated 74 from 46 balls while inspiring to Lahore through to the Eliminator 2 clash against Multan Sultans — who had earlier on Saturday suffered a Super-Over heartbreak against Karachi Kings after the Qualifier finished in a tie — on Sunday night to decide who will face Karachi in Tuesday’s final.

“We were struggling at the start [of the chase] when three wickets went down for 30-odd runs [33 to be exact] in the Powerplay. But back in my mind, I had already decided that if we kept wickets in hands, Lahore will win,” Hafeez told a post-match media conference, that was conducted online. “And then I also made a mental note which I shared with my team-mates that Peshawar Zalmi bowling was purely one-dimensional, and based on pace, because it lacked variety with no spinners to speak of.”

Hafeez — who like Wahab Riaz was part of the Peshawar Zalmi side that won the 2017 PSL title — further said Lahore were well served by successive partnerships after the wobbly start to the chase.

“We knew that as long as keep out good deliveries, there was every chance of getting runs quite easily. And if some of the batters chipped in, there was no way were going to lose. The best option I chose was to absorb the pressure out there. Credit also to Ben Dunk and [Samit] Patel because gave support that was absolutely necessary.

“As we all know Ben is known for aggressive approach, but he played really sensibly at a time we had to regroup as a partnership and Ben was brilliant in the role of anchor because we put on 55. Patel also came good. These little partnerships only help the batting team and they finally did,” said the 40-year-old stalwart.

Wahab, the Peshawar Zalmi captain, lauded the way Hafeez led the run-chase, while saying there is no substitute for experience that was key element which carried Lahore over the line.

“Obviously Hafeez was brilliant in gauging the [match] situation and when someone his stature and being very, very experience cricketer who has been used to such types of scenarios, it became extremely tough for us to contain him,” The left-arm fast bowler remarked. “While he executed those plans to perfection, I’m not offering any excuses in saying here the dew factor played a part because our bowlers were hampered by a wet ball. It is tough to grip the ball properly when you come against such condition.”

The Zalmi skipper — who was taken to the cleaners by David Wiese as the ex-South Africa all-rounder David Wiese, ended the game with a brace of successive leg-side sixes — said the game was evenly poised until the death overs but the bowlers were unable to control the flow of runs.

“Yeah, it became increasingly difficult to pitch the ball in right areas to prevent their batsmen from freeing their arms. It was rather like one holding a bar of soap than a cricket ball. Before that I thought we were very much in the game because a score of 170 was a stiff chase in a do-or-die situation,” Wahab explained.

“It was a bitter lesson for me because I felt we should had done better. Anyways, Lahore have to be congratulated because they made better use of the conditions when it mattered.

“Moreover, we missed Kamran Akmal through a shoulder injury but the team still fought hard and credit to the lads for that showing great character, although our diehard supporters are disappointed at Peshawar’s exit from the tournament.”

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2020

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