SHARJAH: Captain AB de Villiers and all-rounder David Wiese starred as Lahore Qalandars defeated Multan Sultans, during the ongoing Pakistan Super League in Sharjah.
Sultans posted a mammoth 200-6 in their allotted 20 overs, after Qalandars won the toss and elected to field first. Opener James Vince and Umar Siddiq starred with the bat by scoring half-centuries. Vince scored 84 runs off just 41 balls to set the platform for a massive total while Siddiq followed suit with an innings of 53 runs. For Qalandars, Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane claimed three wickets but he went for 46 runs in his four overs. In response, the Qalandars remained in the hunt until the tenth over of the innings but with opener Fakhar Zaman threatening to score a big one. But as soon as he went back to the hut, after scoring 63 runs off 35 balls, the Qalandars seemed like capitulating under pressure.
But at this stage Wiese and De Villiers got together and stitched a brilliant match-winning partnership of 98 runs. Both players remained unbeaten on 52 and 45 runs respectively. The Qalandars chased down the target on the last ball of the innings with Wiese hitting a massive six over long-off. For Sultans, pacer Junaid Khan claimed three wickets but his contribution was not enough to get his team over the line.
For his brilliant innings, De Villiers was declared the player of the match. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, the Qalandars skipper heaped praise on Wiese, because of his wonderful innings. “I thought Wiese would win this award, instead of me, because he played a great innings. He took the pressure off me and allowed me to settle in and take the game deep,” said De Villiers. “I did not start off really well but my partner helped me a fair bit through his powerful strokes. I did not expect the fireworks from Wiese but he was always capable of that.”
De Villiers also had a word of advice for young players, who consider him as their role-model. “It would be surprising for some people but I get nervous while batting,” he said. “But young players need to understand that it is okay to be nervous. They just need to focus on playing the game ball-by-ball.” Losing team captain Shoaib Malik said that they were 20 runs short and did not bat well during the latter stages of the innings. “Of course losing the match does not feel good but it was great match and spectators were served with a great contest,” said Malik. “I think we were 20 runs short of what we should have scored after the start we got. We tried hitting too many boundaries towards the backend of the innings, which is why we lost momentum and scored few runs.” The Qalandars will now face Gladiators in the next match of the tournament on Saturday, February 23, while Sultans will face Peshawar Zalmi on Sunday, February 24.