The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Quetta were invited to bat first by Sohail Akhtar and Chris Gayle showed what he’s capable of in his second appearance for the Purple Force.
Despite losing Saim Ayub and Tom Banton early, Gayle along with skipper Sarfaraz formed a significant partnership of 101 runs that saw the Gladiators reach triple figures.
While Sarfaraz (40) rotated the strike cleverly, Gayle went all guns blazing against the Lahore bowlers after being dropped twice by Salman Ali Agha. With the help of five sixes and as many fours, Gayle was finally clean bowled by Rashid Khan for 68.
Mohammad Nawaz provided the late firepower after the wickets of Sarfaraz and Gayle. A 20-ball 33 not out from the left-hander took the PSL 2019 champions to a competitive total of 178. Haris Rauf was the most successful bowler for Lahore in terms of wickets taken but he proved to be a bit expensive, conceding runs at an economy rate of 9.50.
Shaheen Afridi also went for 43 in his four-over spell in his rare off colour outing and took a single wicket. Emerging pacer Ahmed Daniyal bowled splendidly and returned figures of 1-29 in his four overs.
In reply, the Qalandars made a mockery of the target set by Quetta. An exasperatingly animated Sarfaraz couldn’t help his side execute their bowling plans as they were all over the place against Fakhar (82*) and Hafeez (73). Fakhar and Akhtar’s 64-run opening partnership set the tone for Lahore before Hafeez, dubbed as the ‘Professor’, unleashed his beastly self upon the hapless Gladiators.
With the help of eight boundaries and two maximums, Fakhar finished as the top-scorer for the finalists of last year whereas Hafeez appears to be getting better with each passing day. A 33-ball 73 with six sixes and five fours by Hafeez took the game away from Quetta, who sank to the bottom of the table following their second successive defeat.