8th Match (N), Pakistan Super League at Dubai, Feb 26 2018 | Match Report | ESPNCricinfo

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8th Match (N), Pakistan Super League at Dubai, Feb 26 2018 | Match Report | ESPNCricinfo
WATCH – Afridi and Akmal combine for ‘volleyball’ catch

Shaheen Afridi and Umar Akmal pull off the dismissal of Colin Ingram with a different take on the relay catch

Karachi Kings 159 for 7 (Bopara 50*, Narine 2-18) beat Lahore Qalandars 132 (McCullum 44, Afridi 3-19, Usman 3-26) by 27 runs
nScorecard and ball-by-ball details

Lahore Qalandars came close to overturning their poor start in the tournament, only to falter in a chase of 160 that had been set up by a Powerplay where they blitzed 68 runs. Captain and opening batsman Brendon McCullum made his first score of greater than 40 in the PSL, but a slide engineered by Shahid Afridi, with support from Imad Wasim, ensured that Qalandars’ slim middle order were put under enough pressure to fall short by 27 runs. Left-arm seamer Usman Khan cleaned up the lower order to hand Karachi Kings their third win in as many games.

Having elected to bat, Karachi had three successful phases in their innings. However, the phases were separated by two collapses. Opener Joe Denly led a brutal start to the innings. After surviving an lbw decision – on field and then on review – he carted fast bowler Shaheen Afridi for a six over long-on that measured 104 metres.

The introduction of Yasir in the Powerplay did pay off for Lahore though when he got Denly to top-edge a pull. Mustafizur Rahman trapped Babar Azam lbw off the next ball, extended that start into a wicket-maiden, and by the time Sunil Narine was halfway through his first over, Karachi Kings had fallen to 36 for 3. A fifty-run stand followed, but another collapse ensued and they fell from 86 for 3 to 117 for 7. However, Ravi Bopara, in the company of Mohammad Irfan Jr. sparked a late surge that lifted them to 159.

Lahore lost Narine for a first-ball duck, which offset their decision to push Fakhar Zaman to No. 3 in order to bolster the middle order. The left-hander did make a contribution in the Powerplay as he is wont to do, but when both him and McCullum were dismissed playing reverse sweeps, Karachi Kings latched onto the opening and completed the job. They’ve now taken 28 wickets in three matches.

Where it was won

Karachi had two distinct moments that gave them the victory in a match where they were constantly battling to stay ahead. After collapsing a second time, they were seven down in 18 overs, but Bopara and Irfan Jr. didn’t let that change in momentum cost their team. With three sixes and a four in the last two overs, they stretched the score from 128 to 159. Ten runs fewer could have made a difference to Lahore, whose strategy was to play the spinners out and make up against pace.

The strategy might have worked too, had it not been for the second moment. Denesh Ramdin, brought into the side to give the spinners more confidence through his keeping abilities, was also meant to play the finisher’s role in the middle order. Just when he decided to take on Irfan Jr., he ended up slapping a cut forcefully, only for Denly to leap to his right and take the catch of the tournament at backward point. That was the end for Lahore.

The men that won it

Afridi hit his first ball for six today, but was dismissed next ball with more than three overs to go. With the ball, however, he sychted through Lahore’s middle order. After getting 68 in the Powerplay, they only managed 38 runs in the next six overs, losing four wickets in the process. Three of these were to Afridi, who conceded only 19.

Moment of the match

Shaheen Afridi was among the most expensive bowlers in the game, but he has reason to remember it. Colin Ingram had been the more adventurous batsman during his partnership with Bopara. Once the pair had stabilised the innings with their fifty-run stand, Ingram looked to lift the scoring rate with a slog sweep. He ended up getting too far under it and lifted it high towards deep midwicket where Shaheen had it covered. In the end though, it seemed like he wasn’t sure of keeping his balance and completing this catch. Instead, he used his height to dab the ball back into play while lifting off the ground like a volleyball player, and found Umar Akmal had come to his aid from long-on. With an exaggerated tumble, Akmal grabbed hold of the lob and completed the catch.

Where they stand

The result didn’t affect the standings. It was Karachi’s third win in a row and they continue to lead the table. On the flip side, Lahore’s third loss in a row makes their situation even more dire at the bottom of the table.

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