Pakistan Super League March 11, 2019

Lahore Qalandars finish bottom again after walloping from Multan Sultans

Mohammad Abbas in his delivery stride © Pakistan Super League

Multan Sultans 141 for 3 (Masood 48, Charles 41*) beat Lahore Qalandars 140 for 8 (Fakhar 53, Wiese 30, Abbas 3-22, Afridi 2-18) by seven wickets

How the game played out


Unlike JK Rowling, for whom "rock bottom had become the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life", Lahore Qalandars don't seem to have any intention of moving from the bottom of the PSL table.

In one of their poorest performances of the season so far - remember, they were shot out for 78 just weeks ago by Peshawar Zalmi - Lahore were brushed aside in a dead rubber by Multan Sultans. Having stumbled to a below par 140 for 8, a shocker of a bowling performance allowed Multan to go past the target in a mere 12.3 overs. That concluded the Qalandars' fourth successive campaign propping up the PSL table.

Fakhar Zaman declared somewhat confidently after losing the toss and being asked to bat that he would have batted first anyway. One wonders why. The Lahore captain himself scored a respectable 36-ball 53, but there was no one else who looked capable of exploiting the short boundaries at the National Stadium in Karachi. It didn't help that Mohammad Abbas was at his consistent best, while Shahid Afridi, playing his first ever PSL match in Pakistan, was the most economical, taking two wickets and conceding just 18 in his four overs.

If the Qalandars' batting performance was because of the pitch, then explain the Multan Sultans innings. The carnage they inflicted on the hapless Lahore bowlers was stunning in its brutality. A pair of sixes in the second over from Umar Siddiq set the tone, but in truth, no Multan batsman allowed Lahore any relief. Shan Masood's 24-ball 48 broke the back of the already toothless attack, while Johnson Charles and James Vince helped Multan bring up their 100 in just the eighth over. In the end, it was every bit the cakewalk matches against Lahore have tended to be often this season.

Turning point


Fakhar holed out to Afridi just after reaching a half-century. In an innings where none of his teammates could really get going, it was crucial for the Lahore captain kick on and push his score closer to, and maybe even beyond, three figures. When he fell for 53, it seemed inevitable that Lahore would end with a well below-par total.

Star of the day


In the first two matches since the PSL returned to Pakistan, it appeared Karachi wasn't the best place for bowlers to bolster their economy rates. But Multan's bowlers put together a real team performance, complementing each other and systematically putting the pressure on the batsmen. Abbas's waning form has been the subject of much attention of late, but the last two matches suggest he may be regaining his powers. Chris Green has been in and out of the team, but he got the ball rolling with a beautiful delivery that beat Riki Wessels and tickled the leg-side bail, while Afridi showed he still had something to offer with the ball. Combined, the three bowlers' figures read 12-0-65-6, and with numbers like those, even the slightly more expensive Junaid Khan and Mohammad Ilyas didn't hurt Multan too much.

The big miss


When Shaheen Shah Afridi removed Luke Ronchi off the first ball in the last game, it seemed like the 18-year-old pacer would go on to show his fans in Pakistan what a bowler he is turning out to be. But that game ended with the teenager on the wrong side of a merciless assault, as he conceded 62 runs in his four overs. The scars have stayed for the left-arm bowler, who turned in another off-colour performance, the two overs he sent down costing the side 25 runs. He wasn't by any means the only bowler who went for runs, but it's been a damp end to a promising PSL season for Shaheen Afridi, just as it has been for his unfortunate team.

Where the teams stand


Multan leapfrogged Lahore to ensure they don't finish bottom, and Lahore occupied that position for the fourth season in succession. Both teams bow out, however, with just three wins in ten matches each.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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