Shaheen Afridi and Rashid Khan starred in a riveting performance for Lahore Qalandars as last year's runners-up commenced their campaign with a win over Peshawar Zalmi.
The first day match of the 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) saw Zalmi sent into bat by Qalandars skipper Sohail Akhtar after winning the toss.
The Men in Yellow couldn't gather any momentum over the course of their struggling innings.
Shaheen took the wicket of Imam-ul-Haq on the very first ball of the match to stamp his authority straight away.
Imam was caught behind by Ben Dunk while trying to chase a wide delivery. The experienced Shoaib Malik (26) was promoted up the order but he ran out of partners pretty quickly.
Salman Mirza, playing his first PSL match, made an impact in his opening spell by removing Kamran Akmal and Haider Ali - the latter had to depart for a golden duck.
Malik was joined by Ravi Bopara (50) in the middle and a small ray of hope emerged when Zalmi got a couple of streaky boundaries.
However, the introduction of David Wiese brought the much-needed scalp of Malik for Lahore and Peshawar were rendered four down for less than 50 runs on the board. A handy but sedate partnership of 64 runs between Bopara and Sherfane Rutherford took Zalmi past the 100-run mark.
Rutherford contributed with 26 but Amad Butt’s 11-ball 23* provided Peshawar with the necessary impetus to crawl to a fighting total of 140/6. Shaheen was the pick of the bowlers for Lahore as he returned figures of 3-14 in his 4 overs whereas Mirza also took 2-35 on his debut. Rashid Khan conceded just 14 runs in his first match in the PSL but went wicketless.
In reply, Qalandars were off to a steady start as Akhtar (14) and Fakhar Zaman (15) provided them with an opening stand of 29 runs. Akhtar was caught by Malik off Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s bowling and Fakhar soon followed him to bring Zalmi back into the game.
Agha Salman played well for his knock of 21 but he couldn’t carry on and was bowled off an inside edge by Butt. A 36-run partnership between Dunk (22) and Mohammad Hafeez (33*) put the Qalandars back on track but Wahab’s inswinging yorker got rid of Dunk to leave them reeling at 89-4.
Nothing much was going Peshawar’s way but a double-strike from Saqib Mahmood jolted the dugout of Lahore before Rashid arrived at the crease. While Hafeez played a smart and sensible innings, Rashid blasted his way to 27 off just 15 balls with 3 fours and a six to finish the game in style for the Qalandars.