Unlike the last season, Lahore Qalandars need not to wait three matches for a win. This was their second match of the season and they used the occasion befittingly to announce themselves as serious contenders by thrashing the defending champions Islamabad United by six wickets.
Having not beaten United in the last PSL, the new-look Qalandars side chased down 158 with 10 balls spare.
Skipper Brendon McCullum (25 off 10) and Jason Roy gave Qalandars a fiery start as they plundered 38 runs in just 14 balls before the former was caught on the square-leg boundary by Sam Billings of Rumman Raees.
Roy, however, continued to consolidate his side’s position in the match as he held his end together. He was joined by Umar Akmal at the start of the fifth over when Fakhar Zaman (5 off 8) top-edged Mohammad Sami to be held by the quick himself.
Akmal, cautious after throwing his wicket in the previous match, hit his first boundary of this season on his seventh ball today, taking only two singles off the previous deliveries. He hit his first six, off his trademark pull-shot over cow corner, on the 15th ball. He eventually fell 11 balls later, scoring 35 out of 26 balls — hitting five boundaries, three 4s and two 6s.
Meanwhile Roy kept on anchoring the chase and piled up 60 from 51 balls before Sunil Narine meaty blows saw them over the line.
It was medium-pace bowler Grant Elliot’s show during Islamabad United’s innings. The opening partnership of Dwayne Smith (31 from 29) and Sam Billings (37 off 28) threatened a daunting target as they had plundered 73 runs by the ninth over. The Kiwi dismantled stumps twice in his first over to remove both openers.
United’s captain Misbah-ul-Haq struck his highest PSL score of 61 from 36 balls. He hit eight boundaries, four of which came in his last eight balls that saw United to a respectable total.