KARACHI: Eliminated Lahore Qalandars have gained a head of steam after being eliminated and should provide a tougher challenge to defending champions Peshawar Zalmi than their position at the bottom of the table suggests when the two sides collide in the 29th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Brendon McCullum’s side have won the last three games in a row after suffering defeat in their first six matches. Wins over Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators — all teams above Peshawar Zalmi in the table — have propelled Lahore to six points and they will be looking for a win in their final game as well to at least end their PSL campaign on a high.
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“Although we have been eliminated from the tournament and gained momentum late, we are enjoying our wins and are naturally aiming to win our last match of the season in order to end our PSL campaign with a win,” Lahore’s star leg-spinner Yasir Shah told The Express Tribune.
Yasir believes, with momentum behind Lahore, they don’t have to rely on the toss to deliver a positive result. “We have been doing well in terms of both chasing and defending targets, so it does not matter who wins the toss; we are all giving our best and are enjoying our play,” he said.
The spinner is left to rue what could have been had they won the narrow game against Islamabad. “I wish we had won the match against Islamabad United that went to a super over,” he said. “We would have been alive in the tournament had that been the case but at least we are playing good cricket now.”
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Lahore’s left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman scored a blazing 94 in their last game against Quetta Gladiators and was dismissed trying to clear the fence one more time.
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And while he was unable to become the first Lahore batsman to score a century, he was at least happy that his innings was able to guide his side to a win.
“I always play for the team,” he said. “My aim is to guide my team to a strong position and then if I am able to reach any personal milestones along the way, that’s a bonus. I will be looking to play a similar knock in the match against Peshawar Zalmi and help the team end this journey on a positive note.”
‘Up for the game against Lahore’
Peshawar Zalmi’s young spinner Ibtisam Sheikh has said he is looking forward to performing against the in-form Lahore side. “Lahore have gained momentum at the end of the group stages and they are going to be a fun team to play against,” he said. “I want to play and perform against a team that has won three matches in a row since it is a team that is playing well.”