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Ravi Bopara guides chase as MCC get off to winning start
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Ravi Bopara guides chase as MCC get off to winning start

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) team chased down a below-par target of 136 set by Qalandars with four balls to spare and surely the touring party kicked off their tour on a positive note.

The Lahoris came in huge numbers for the one of a kind match between Lahore Qalandars and MCC at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. The match served as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) edition and was considered as a practice game by the much-hyped Qalandars.

MCC team won the toss and Kumar Sangakkara's decision to bowl first proved spot-on as they limited Qalandars on a paltry 135/5.

Roelof van der Merwe, who has represented South Africa and Netherlands internationally, weaved magic with his spin bowling and snared two wickets by giving away a mere 17 runs in his quota of overs.

Left-arm speedster Fred Klaassen kept things tight and darted thunderbolts consistently and ended his spell with one wicket and leaked just 25 runs.

Fakhar Zaman and Salman Butt got off to a flying start and things looked under control with the experienced players on the crease but after they got out, there was an epic collapse as Mohammad Faizan, Mohammad Hafeez and Jaahid Ali couldn't even get to the double figures. Hafeez got out without troubling the scorers as he nicked one through to Sangakkara.

Thereafter, Sohail Akhtar steadied the sinking ship and played a gem of an innings by slamming 40 off 28 delivers, striking at 142.86, and this knock will bode well for Qalandars as they gear up for an action-packed home PSL season.

MCC stumbled early on in the chase as openers Will Rhodes and Michael Leask were dismissed inside powerplay overs but then the top-flight cricketer from Sri Lanka, Kumar, exuded typical calmness and class as he scored 25 off 27 deliveries, plonked three fours before getting outfoxed by Qalandars new fast bowling sensation, Dilbar Hussain.

Ravi Bopara was adjudicated man of the match for his marvellous 42-run-knock and he was supported superbly by fellow Englishman Samit Patel who amassed 31 runs.

Samit's untimely dismissal sent the game right down to the wire but Ross Whiteley and van der Merve made sure there were no further hiccups and they got MCC over the line in 19.2 overs.