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PSL20 Jun 2021

HBL PSL 6: Islamabad on top after first stage
SPORTS REPORT ABU DHABI (June 20, 2021):-An action-packed and topsy-turvy league matches stage of the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 ended with a last-over win for table-toppers Islamabad United against Multan Sultans last night. This was a virtual dress rehearsal for the Qualifier between the two teams, set to be played on Monday, 21 June, at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The first 14 matches in the six-team 30-match double-league format were played at Karachi’s National Stadium before a Covid-19 induced suspension on 4 March. A monumental effort by the PCB, Emirates Cricket Board and Abu Dhabi Cricket ensured the resumption of the tournament in Abu Dhabi on 9 June. Since the restart, 16 remaining matches of the league stage have been played at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium between 9 and 19 June with two-time champions United emerging at the top of the table with 16 points from 10 matches. Sultans, who were languishing at the fifth spot with a mere two points at the end of the Karachi-leg, made an astonishing comeback to win four out of their five Abu Dhabi-leg games to end on the second spot with 10 points and a net run-rate of +1.05. Zalmi (NRR +0.586) and defending champions Karachi Kings (NRR -0.115) also ended the league stage with 10 points each to ensure their qualification ahead of Lahore Qalandars, who despite finishing with 10 points, missed out on a play-off spot due to an inferior net run-rate of -0.589. Quetta Gladiators had to endure a surprise dip in form as well as absence of international stars Andre Russell and Faf du Plessis due to concussions which saw them finish at the bottom of the table. The 2019 champions managed just four points from 10 matches (two wins, eight defeats). LOOKING AHEAD TO THE PLAY-OFFS Qualifier –Islamabad United vs Multan Sultans: United have been in a red-hot form since losing their first Abu Dhabi-leg match to Qalandars in a last-over thriller on 9 June. Shadab Khan-led side have since won five matches on the trot to finish with a staggering eight wins in 10 league-stage matches. United had won three out of their first four matches of the Karachi-leg. The foreign opening duo of Usman Khawaja and Colin Munro have dazzled for United in the Abu Dhabi-leg. Usman, the Australian international batsman, posted the only century of the Abu Dhabi-leg, leading his side to victory in a record breaking, high scoring thriller against Zalmi last week. In five games, the left-hander has tallied 175 runs at 58.33 and a strike-rate of 147.05 with the help of one century. Munro, has amassed 241 runs in five games at 80.33 with an astonishing strike-rate of 174.63. His tally of runs includes two half-centuries. Asif Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed have provided valuable support in the middle-order with the bat with match winning contributions. Amongst the bowlers, Hasan Ali leads the pack for United with 12 wickets in eight games at 16.75. Emerging category pacer Mohammad Wasim Jr. has been most impressive in his debut HBL PSL season, collecting 11 wickets in nine matches. Mohammad Rizwan-led Sultans have emerged from the disappointments of the fifth-position in Karachi to the highs of a second-place finish in Abu Dhabi. Rizwan has led the side from the front with a tally of 470 runs at 52.22 with the help of four half-centuries. Sohaib Maqsood has scored 304 runs in 10 games at 38 with a strike-rate of 154.31. Sultans’ emerging category fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani has been most impressive with his 20 wickets in nine matches taking him to the top of the wicket-takers list. His wickets have come at an incredible 13.65 average, he has picked-up two player-of-the-match awards. Head-to-Head: Islamabad United 5 Multan Sultans 3 Eliminator 1 –Peshawar Zalmi vs Karachi Kings: Wahab Riaz-led Peshawar Zalmi produced some thrilling cricket to ensure a play-off berth despite some hiccups on the way. Seasoned campaigner Shoaib Malik has been their top scorer to date with 244 runs in 10 games at 30.50 and a strike-rate of 140.22. Malik made two fighting half-centuries in the Abu Dhabi-leg against Qalandars and United to ensure his team fought all the way in pursuit of steep targets while minimising the damage to their net run-rate. Wahab has led the bowling charts for Zalmi with his spirited efforts with the new and the old ball resulting in 14 wickets in nine league matches at 21.85. Defending champions Kings had to fight hard to resurrect their campaign after losing the first three matches of the Abu Dhabi-leg, which left them on the verge of elimination. Imad Wasim-led side won a last-over thriller against Qalandars – their ninth match, before defeating Gladiators on Saturday evening to clinch the fourth-spot in the playoffs ahead of their arch-rivals Qalandars. Batting mainstay Babar Azam leads the HBL PSL 6 batting charts with 501 runs in 10 matches at 71.57, Babar has scored six half-centuries in the tournament so far. Babar’s opening partner Sharjeel Khan contributed 312 runs in 10-league stage matches at 31.20. Emerging category pacer Arshad Iqbal is the leading wicket-taker for the Kings with eight wickets in as many matches at 29. Head-to-Head: Peshawar Zalmi nine, Karachi Kings five

PSL10 Jun 2021

PSL: Qalandars defeat Islamabad Unites by 5 wickets
SPORTS Report Abu Dhabi (June 10, 2021):-The sixth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League resumed with a thrilling contest as Lahore Qalandars – the finalists of the 2020 tournament – sealed a five-wicket win over 2016 and 2018 champions Islamabad United on the final ball. This was Qalandars’ just third win over United in 11 matches and took them to the top of the points table. Qalandars chased down a tricky 144 at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi thanks to Rashid Khan who smashed Hussain Talat for three fours in the last over. Qalandars required 16 from six when Shadab Khan, the United captain, brought Hussain into the attack to deliver his only over of the match. Rashid, who had earlier bowled a staggering number of 15 dots in his four overs to return one for nine, welcomed the right-arm pacer with three consecutive fours and stole two runs on the fourth delivery. The last two balls brought two singles as Qalandars registered their fourth win of the season – the most for any side. United, meanwhile, slipped a spot to the fourth. United looked in contention after Hasan Ali, who took two wickets for 27 runs at a decent economy of 6.75, gave away only seven runs and dismissed Ben Dunk in the penultimate over. Hasan bowled a clean over darting four dots before Tim David finished it with a six that went over the bowler’s head. Qalandars’ innings was anchored by their captain Sohail Akhtar who top-scored in the match with a 30-ball 40 and smashed five fours and a six. Sohail’s knock included a 38-run partnership for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez (29 off 25, three fours) that steadied Qalandars’ innings after losing their first two wickets for 44 runs in 7.4 overs. The highlight of their partnership was the 12th over in which the pair smashed Shadab for three fours. The next over, Fawad Ahmed helped United pounce back in the contest as he trapped Sohail LBW and that dismissal paved the way for Hafeez’s return to the pavilion in the 15th over when he pulled Hasan’s slower delivery into Asif Ali’s hands at deep square-leg. David, however, maintained his calm in the crucial moments and scored a handy 23 not out off 15. Sohail maintained the trend of fielding first after winning the toss and Qalandars were provided an excellent start by Australian pacer James Faulkner as he accounted for a batsman each in his first three overs in the powerplay that left Islamabad United reeling at 43 for three. Qalandars could have had the first wicket in the opening over when Usman Khawaja chipped Shaheen Shah Afridi’s length delivery to mid-off but it was put down by Haris Rauf. That missed opportunity, however, did not bother Qalandars as Faulkner bowled Colin Munro in the next over after being smashed for a four and a six. In his next over – the fourth of the innings – he had Rohail Nazir caught in covers and made the United captain miscue a slower delivery to be held by his counterpart at mid-off in the last powerplay over. The left-arm pacer finished with three wickets for 32 from four overs. Faulkner was also involved in the fourth dismissal as he caught Usman safely at deep third-man when the Australian top-order batsman cut Rauf in the seventh over. A 22-run partnership between Iftikhar Ahmed and Talat ensued. It was broken by young pacer Ahmed Daniyal, who took two wickets in the match, in the 12th over as United lost half of their batting lineup for 72 runs. The pressure continued to mount on the batting side thanks Rashid’s mysterious leg-spin. The Afghanistan leg-spinner accounted for Talat in the next over after Iftikhar’s wicket. As United fans pinned their hopes on hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali to come to their rescue, a fantastic take by Mohammad Hafeez at short mid-wicket brought an end to his innings. Faheem Ashraf, however, rose to the occasion and provided the desired boost in the death overs during his 24-ball 27 that set 143 for nine. After entering the death phase of the innings – the last five overs – with 99 runs and three wickets intact, United managed 44 at the loss of two wickets. Hasan Ali, who continues to entertain the fans with his batting exploits since his scintillating century in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21 final which helped his team Central Punjab secure a tie against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, struck two boundaries, before Mohammad Wasim Jnr smashed a four and played a bold ramp shot against Rauf in the penultimate over for a six. Rauf was the other bowler to finish taking two wickets in the innings. Scores in brief: Lahore Qalandars beat Islamabad United by five wickets Islamabad United 143-9, 20 overs (Faheem Ashraf 27; James Faulkner 3-32, Haris Rauf 2-28, Ahmed Daniyal 2-29) Lahore Qalandars 144-5, 20 overs (Sohail Akhtar 40, Mohammad Hafeez 29, Tim David 23 not out; Hasan Ali 2-27) Player of the match – Rashid Khan (Lahore Qalandars)

PSL19 May 2021

PCB-franchise owners discuss remaining HBL PSL 6 matches
SPORTS REPORT LAHORE (May 19, 2021):-Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the six franchise owners today discussed in a virtual session the operational planning and delivery of the remaining 20 HBL Pakistan Super League matches, which are scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates from 1-20 June. Following detailed discussions in which all potential scenarios were reviewed and analysed, it was unanimously agreed to wait until the close of business on Thursday (UAE time) before a final decision on the hosting of the remaining matches is made. PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan: “In today’s online discussion, we updated the team owners that the PCB had been advised that the PSL had received approvals from the relevant authorities in the UAE. However, some clarifications on certain exemption requests are still awaited, which are expected at some stage on Thursday.   “The team owners agreed that if we do not receive clarity by Thursday afternoon, then they’ll have no other option but to request postponement of the remaining 20 matches.   “In the meantime, we will continue to liaise with the UAE government and the Emirates Cricket Board as they are equally keen for the event to be held in the UAE.”