PSL

PSL: Pollard heroics against Lahore keep Karachi alive

Karachi Kings v Lahore Qalandars, PSL 2017, Sharjah
Karachi Kings 158 for 5 (Babar 49, Pollard 45*) beat Lahore Qalandars 155 for 6 (Rizwan 32*, Malik 2-21) by five wickets

Karachi Kings’ Kieron Pollard, who hadn’t fired in the tournament until today, struck two sixes off the last two balls of the match to ensure his side’s hopes of making it to the playoffs were not yet extinguished. In doing so, he left Lahore Qalandars on the verge of first-round elimination again.

The run chase of 156 had looked comfortable at the start for Karachi. Babar Azam paired up first with Mahela Jayawardene, who replaced Chris Gayle in the starting XI and then with Kumar Sangakarra to ensure they were in control of the required rate, and had wickets in hand.

But accurate bowling from Lahore’s spin pair of Sunil Narine and Yasir Shah starved Karachi of boundaries, and as the asking rate began to rise, so did the tension. Sangakarra’s men lost their heads in the middle briefly, with Ravi Bopara and Shoaib Malik running themselves out in a space of a few overs.

Pollard and Imad Wasim then came together in a partnership that always seemed like they had slightly too much to do, never more so than when they needed 10 to win off the last two balls. Pollard was up to the task and took 12 runs.

Lahore will rue their own batting performance – an innings that never quite managed to gain momentum, for which the batsmen had only themselves to blame. Poor shot selection at inopportune times kept pegging them back, with Brendon McCullum, Umar Akmal and Grant Elliott falling in similar fashion, slicing the spinners up in the air. Shoaib Malik deserved credit for his 2 for 21, which helped ensure Lahore’s total was just within reach.

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Raza Khan

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