Karachi Kings v Lahore Qalandars, PSL 2017, Sharjah February 16, 2017

Lahore edge past Karachi despite Sangakarra fireworks

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Lahore Qalandars 179 for 8 (Zaman 56, Rizwan 29, Amir 2-30) beat Karachi Kings 172 for 8 (Sangakkara 65, Malik 39, Tanvir 2-30) by seven runs
Scorecard

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Highlights - Sangakkara fifty not enough as Karachi Kings remain winless

In a nutshell

Kumar Sangakkara's best form since international retirement wasn't enough to overhaul Lahore Qalandars' top-heavy batting performance in the latter's seven-run win. In an entertaining contest at the Sharjah Stadium, Brendon McCullum's men struggled to deliver a knockout blow to Karachi Kings, which meant the win looked narrower than it actually was. Karachi's chase of 180 looked an uphill battle from the start, with the beleaguered Chris Gayle holing out to long-off in the second over of the chase bowled by Sunil Narine. Karachi's challenge, in truth, lasted for the duration of the 101-run third-wicket partnership between Sangakarra and Shoaib Malik. When the pair fell within five balls of each other, the chase swiftly faded.

Lahore's captain McCullum's lean run also continued, as he dragged a straight delivery on for a second successive duck, but the rest of the batsmen demonstrated that the horror innings against Peshawar Zalmi, where they were bowled out for 59, had not dissuaded them from going for their shots. Fakhar Zaman and Jason Roy shrugged off their captain's departure to plunder 57 runs by the sixth over. Zaman barely noticed Roy's dismissal, or indeed the end of the Powerplay, as he and Umar Akmal continued to swing from the hip. Karachi did not help themselves, dropping a pair of fairly routine catches that would have sent the pair packing earlier. By the end of the 13th over, Lahore were 125 for 4, and looked set for 200, and while they didn't quite manage that, their final score of 179 was good in the end anyway.

Where the match was won

A slow start is often costly in any T20 contest but when chasing 180, it is almost decisive. Gayle looked a tortured shell of his usual self in his seven-ball stay at the crease, and Babar Azam played a lazy shot to gift third man an easy catch. Sangakarra began brightly, his timing as well as placement his vintage majestic self, but with Malik also struggling early on, Karachi only mustered 60 runs in the first nine overs. The innings really only burst into life off the back of a poor tenth over from Bilawal Bhatti, and 53 runs came off the next four overs. But the slow start meant Karachi's asking rate never really came down to a point when the pressure was off, and Sangakarra ultimately fell playing the high-risk cricket that was the only option before the side.

The men that won it

Narine, the bowling equivalent of McCullum in T20s, has lived up to his billing all tournament. He was at his wily, unplayable best today, turning the ball sharply off the Sharjah surface with no batsman seeming to pick him up properly. It appeared that as long as Lahore could turn to him, they were ahead in the game. It helped, of course, that the two wickets he took were of Gayle and Kieron Pollard. The mystery Narine continues to carry in his arsenal was epitomised by Pollard's cluelessness as he played all around an offspinner.

File photo - Sunil Narine removed Gayle and Pollard © AFP

Fielding fit

The fielding between the two sides was particularly stark. While Lahore looked sharp and alert under the stewardship of McCullum, taking their catches and hitting the stumps regularly, Karachi were sloppy. Zaman and Akmal had comfortable chances put down - the former, unhelpfully, by Sangakarra - and Karachi regularly struggled to stop ones from turning into twos. Given that the margin of defeat was only seven runs, such sloppiness cost them dear and they can ill-afford such untidiness in the following games if they have to lift themselves from the bottom of the table.

The moment of the match

The abiding memory of this game will undoubtedly be the century stand between Malik and Sangakarra, boasting a combined age of 74. Sangakarra's lofted cover drive, in particular, is a shot worth the clichéd admission fee on its own. On consecutive deliveries off the unfortunate Yasir Shah in the thirteenth over, he showcased both his finesse and destructive power, timing the first over extra cover for four. Yasir went straighter next ball, but was still brave enough to flight the ball generously. Fortune didn't favour him, as Sangakkara slog-swept him - still gracefully, somehow - onto the Sharjah roof. It might not have been decisive, but it was certainly delightful.

Where they stand

Lahore's up-and-down season continues, with McCullum's men managing two wins and two losses. They have four points, and sit fourth in the table on net run rate. Karachi are yet to manage a win in their three games.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • J on February 17, 2017, 11:29 GMT

    Fackhar zamzam should be given a place in the team immediately. Even if he doesn't perform his name will entertain people.

  • J on February 17, 2017, 11:28 GMT

    When Pakistan themselves play their mini league in dubai, how can they expect other teams to tour Pakistan.

  •   Imran Awan on February 17, 2017, 10:47 GMT

    Karachi Kings are losing all every match. what is the reason?

  • shani on February 17, 2017, 8:01 GMT

    Pakistan is lacking strikers at the to, Can fakhar zaman be the new man for pakistan ???, but i feel its to early for him, he should perform consistently to make his position valid in national side,, he can be a asset for team....

  • Mehr Alishba on February 17, 2017, 6:01 GMT

    Fakhar look promising for Pakistan and together with Babur Azam can make a formidable middle order. Karachi woes continue and despite a mix of excellent players they are still winless. I link this more to coaching side where Micky Arthur and Azhar Mahmood seem the real problem. Interestingly this pair is also bad omen to dismissal performance of Team Green. Salman Iqbal Think?

  • sajjad on February 17, 2017, 5:06 GMT

    Oh such a nice surprise.. With Sharjeel bidding adieu Fakhar Zaman could ultimately be in the next limited over international game. He is knocking knocking and knocking on the door. And I will say to him keep knocking... All the best to Zaman.

  • Kapil on February 17, 2017, 3:29 GMT

    It's a poor effort not to chase down 180 on that pitch and outfield. After 13 overs, with so many big hitters to come, they could have been more aggressive rather than looking for 1s. It's a bad loss considering they restricted the target to 180

  • asad on February 17, 2017, 3:12 GMT

    This was a good performance from Lahore today. Lahore is lacking a big hitter at the end to finish the innings but otherwise they seem to be a team that will be their own worst enemy in their losses. I'd like to see Aamer Yamin get a game as well as the youngsters Ghulam Mudassar, Zafar Gohar & Saif Badar. Also Cameron Delport was excellent for Lahore last time and should get a chance too. The problem is that all the guys that these players will be replacing are playing too good to justify being dropped (and in Delport's case he can't replace Bmac because he's the captain). For Karachi they really need to register a win to get going. I suggest replacing Gayle with Jayawardene, ideally he should be captain as many SL fans will say that Jayawardene is better captain than Sanga (at least the SL fans I know). I would also like to Hasan Mohsin get a game. KK's main problem is that their no. 4-7 is all rounders who are either not big hitters or inconsistent.

  • usw8734401993 on February 17, 2017, 2:47 GMT

    why so much hate for Asad. good in test

  • Cricinfouser on February 17, 2017, 1:27 GMT

    it was very good to watch..... sanga was great. still waiting for chris to fire up

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