Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
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Lahore Qalandars 143 for 2 (Fakhar 53, Ghulam 55*) beat Quetta Gladiators 141 for 7 (Iftikhar 52, Afridi 2-27, Wiese 2-25) by eight wickets
Top-order runs and a ruthless new-ball bowling performance from Lahore Qalandars saw Shaheen Shah Afridi's side coast to a eight-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators. It began with the trademark Afridi first over which brought two wickets, including the prized scalp of Jason Roy. Before long, the Gladiators had slumped to 25 for 4, with the recovery only taking them to 141. It was never really a challenge for the home side, with fifties from Fakhar Zaman and Kamran Ghulam seeing them canter to victory with 2.3 overs to spare.
Roy gloved the second ball of the game to Phil Salt behind the stumps, and the Gladiators once more began to look like the tepid, unimpressive side that managed just one win in four games without him. Fellow Englishman James Vince was cleaned up with a pearler, darting between bat and pad to clean up the stumps. The Gladiators' penchant for errant running cost them dearly soon after, with the previous day's Player of the Match Sarfaraz Ahmed run out off a direct hit cheaply. Rashid Khan, who bowled a glorious spell, conceding just 13 in four overs, bowled Ahsan Ali with a googly in his first over to leave the Gladiators reeling.
The recovery came initially through another little cameo from Umar Akmal, and then a 51-run stand between Iftikhar Ahmed and Hassan Khan. Iftikhar scored a 39-ball 52 to ensure the Gladiators would have something to bowl at, but needed to bat through the innings to realistically give them a defendable total. Once he holed out in the 18th over, the innings petered out.
There was little jeopardy in the second innings. The Qalandars didn't go hard in the powerplay, but only because they didn't especially need to. Ghulam Mudassar removed Abdullah Shafique early but Fakhar's sensational stint in the PSL showed no signs of abating. The opener struck six boundaries during a 42-ball 53, and even when he top-edged one off Noor Ahmed to end his knock, his side required just 24 more in 27 balls.
Mudassar and Mohammad Hafeez picked those off with little fuss as the Qalandars tightened their grip on second spot. They're on the brink of making the playoff stages of a tournament that will now be played entirely at home for them. The side so accustomed to finishing bottom might have some home glory in store for them after all.
Over 18 • LQ 143/2Qalandars won by 8 wickets (with 14 balls remaining)
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