CricViz Analyst Freddie Wilde reviews Lahore Qalandars’ 2020 Pakistan Super League campaign.
SEASON OVERVIEW: QUALIFICATION, FINALLY
For the first time in their history Lahore Qalandars made it beyond the league stage of the PSL thanks to a superb run of form in the second half of the season. After winning just one of their first five matches the Qalandars turned it around from there, winning four of their last five matches, finishing third in the points table.
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WHAT WENT WELL?
Major contributions from star players
Lahore’s run to the top four was defined by major contributions from their star players: Chris Lynn, Ben Dunk and Shaheen Shah Afridi, and to a lesser extent Samit Patel and Sohai Akhtar. Lahore arguably had the best opening batsman in the league (Lynn), the best player of spin in the league (Dunk) and the best pace bowler (Shaheen). Whenever any of these three had a good match Lahore proved hard to stop. Lynn and Dunk finished as Lahore’s top two run-scorers while Shaheen was their top wicket-taker. Dunk was arguably the standout batsman of the season. Lynn was one of the fastest scorers and Sohail Akthar also contributed well in terms of stability.
With the ball Shaheen was one of a group of three standout bowlers who performed exceptionally well in terms of True Economy Rate and True Strike Rate. Samit’s wicket-taking was also excellent.
Powerplay dismissal rate
No team had a better balls per wicket in the Powerplay than Lahore. Their top three of Fakhar Zaman, Lynn and Akthar regularly provided the team with solid platforms. Their run rate was solid yet unspectacular but at least they ensured they saw off the early wicket-taking threats.
Death overs run rate
Lahore were destructive in the death overs this season: only Multan scored faster in the last five overs of the innings. In the death overs Lahore had good contributions from Dunk, Lynn, Mohammad Hafeez when they batted deep, and David Wiese as a specialist death overs hitter.
Batting v pace
Lahore’s success as a team with the bat can broadly be identified as being due to their strength against pace bowling: they had success in the two phases most dominated by quick bowling: the Powerplay and at the death.
With the ball Lahore’s standout strength was their Powerplay wicket-taking. Wickets are at their most valuable the earlier in the innings they are taken and no team was more effective at doing so than Lahore, who struck more than once every three overs in the phase. Their excellence in this period was underpinned by Shaheen and Samit who formed a deadly duo with the new ball.
There was a clear divide between the six teams’ spin bowling this season. Lahore were one of the three teams whose spinners performed well. This was largely due to Samit’s excellence in the Powerplay but Maaz Khan, Raja Khan and Hafeez also contributed well across smaller sample sizes. Samit’s best bowling was largely in the Powerplay but Lahore’s spinners managed to retain some control through the middle overs as well.
CRICVIZ PROFESSIONAL ANALYSIS
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Although big contributions from star players are what you want, there was a sense that Lahore were overly-reliant on Lynn, Dunk, Shaheen – and to a lesser extent Sohail and Samit. Moving forward Lahore cannot expect these players to contribute as dramatically or as consistently as they did this time around. Lahore appeared to stumble across a winning combination through luck as much as planning. In their first match of the season neither Dunk or Samit were regular starters in the team but both went onto have a huge impact for Lahore. Fakhar was also unceremoniously dropped before returning with some strong performances. Wiese’s bowling was an unexpected bonus as well.
Batting v spin
Lahore’s major batting issue was facing spin. They were one of three teams who really struggled against the slower bowlers. This meant that they generally struggled through the middle over period when more spin was bowled.
Lahore’s struggles against spin can largely be attributed to the issues of Sohail, Hafeez and Samit in terms of scoring rate and Fakhar in terms of dismissal rate. Dunk and Lynn were excellent.
Death overs bowling
Lahore’s bowling deteriorated through the innings: they were supreme in the Powerplay, decent in the middle but poor at the death. No team had a higher economy rate in the last five overs than Lahore’s 11.37 runs per over.
Rauf and Shinwari’s form
A big reason for Lahore’s deteriorating bowling through the phases was the form of two of their frontline pace bowlers: Haris Rauf and Usman Shinwari who both really struggled throughout the campaign. Lahore had a clear divide between those bowlers who managed to remain economical and those who were expensive.
Ahead of the season Rauf and Shinwari would’ve been expected to have been far more reliable than they proved to be. Fortunately Lahore were able to rely on Wiese and Dilbar Hussain more than they may have expected – covering their bowling issues to a degree.
SEASON SUMMARY: INDIVIDUAL BRILLIANCE ENDS DROUGHT
This was a successful season for Lahore who not only avoided bottom place but made it to the Play Offs for the first time. In many respects Lahore did not do much different this year to previous years: they assembled a squad heavy on individual talent and light on depth but this season, unlike previously, they managed to get enough match-winning performances from those star players to carry them through.
Freddie Wilde is a senior analyst at CricViz. Follow him on Twitter @fwildecricket