Home » PSL 7: Eliminator 2 – Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United

PSL 7: Eliminator 2 – Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United

Dawson’s Powerplay Spell

Since coming into the Islamabad United team, left arm spinner Liam Dawson has made an impact in a somewhat unexpected role – picking up wickets with the new ball. Dawson is the second highest wicket taker in the Powerplay (only Shaheen has taken more) and his wickets come at a lowly economy rate of 5.15 runs per over. The go-to tactic for Dawson with the new ball has been to bowl a shorter length, with 77% of his deliveries pitching shorter than 5.15 metres – the Hampshire man continued with that approach today and picked up the key early wickets of Fakhar Zaman and Phil Salt – both batters unable to adapt to the length bowled by Dawson with Fakhar caught attempting to cut Dawson’s shortest ball and Salt bowled when backing away to one of Dawson’s fullest deliveries after being pushed back by the two previous deliveries. 

Abdullah Shafique’s Counter Attack

Dawson’s early spell had reduced Lahore Qalandars to 9/2 at the end of the 4th over, with young Abdullah Shafique joined by Kamran Ghulam at the crease. The Pakistan duo went on a counter charge from here-on, scoring 12 or more runs for 5 consecutive overs to help rebuild the Qalandars innings at a rapid rate. 22-year-old Abdullah Shafique was the standout batter during this rebuild – playing an array of lofted drives, cuts and pull shots to get Qalandars out of danger, all while playing with good control. 

United Struggle at the Death

Following Abdullah Shafique’s innings Lahore Qalandars stumbled through the remaining Middle Overs, frequently losing wickets and finding themselves at 112-5 with just 5 overs to go. Considering that their death bowling unit is the leakiest in the PSL this season, conceding at 12.31 runs per over, Islamabad United would’ve been delighted with how proceedings went – the lack of remaining wickets could reduce how attacking the Qalandars batters were. 

This did happen somewhat, with United conceding 29 from the opening 4 death overs but it was a brutal takedown of Waqas Maqsood by David Wiese in the final over that kept the tie in the balance. David Wiese is a brutal hitter of full pitched pace bowling, both his strike rate (171) and average (25) are highest when facing deliveries pitched fuller than 6 metres – Waqas Maqsood’s one dimensional full bowling approach played into that strength perfectly.  

A quick mention has to be made with regards to Mohammad Hafeez’s innings – his ‘get set and cash in’ approach is well documented but his innings of 28 (28) registered a negative batting impact today, some would argue he wasted balls that could’ve been faced by David Wiese, others perhaps value his wicket preservation that allowed Wiese’s hitting in the first place. 

United’s aggressive Powerplay approach continues

Islamabad United have been historically good inside the Powerplay this season, prior to today’s match they had an Average Batting Impact of +10.1 in the Powerplay, the highest ever for a PSL season and that heavily attacking approach combined with wicket preservation was expected to continue in today’s fixtures. 

Attempting to attack the leading Powerplay wicket taker this season, Shaheen Shah Afridi is an approach that should not be taken likely and comes with minimum reward, as Islamabad United found out today. They attacked 9 of Shaheen’s 12 Powerplay deliveries – scoring 15 runs but suffering the dismissals of both Paul Stirling and Will Jacks.

United’s No.4, Shadab Khan came and went, edging behind off Zaman Khan for a score of 14 off 8 – then Islamabad United sent in Liam Dawson, a pinch hitter who scored 12 off 6 before being dismissed right at the end of the Powerplay, a small sacrifice for a decent gain perhaps, considering Dawson would probably slot in at No.7 or No.8 in their ‘usual’ batting lineup. Following a powerplay score of 47-4, the game would usually be heavily in favour of the bowling side but given the batting resources Islamabad United had to come, perhaps the sacrifice of an extra wicket or two in pursuit of getting ahead of the 169 target was a worthwhile tactic. 

Azam Khan & Alex Hales control the middle overs

Islamabad United kicked on quickly following the Powerplay and without their key asset, Rashid Khan, Lahore Qalandars were unable to stop Hales & Azam Khan from putting together a fast scoring partnership. Both batters scored at 9.00rpo between Overs 7 & 15 – with Azam Khan’s 39 off 26 coming with a false shot percentage of 8% compared to Alex Hales’ 12% false shot rate while scoring 32 off 20 – quick scoring, risk free batting at its finest as both right-handers reduced the dot balls and capitalised on any loose deliveries. Islamabad United were firm favourites, sitting at 126/5 with 6 overs remaining. 

Shaheen’s Captaincy gives Qalandars a Chance

Shaheen Shah Afridi is among a rare breed of captains – whenever he is behind in the game he more often than not uses the aggressive option to attempt to bring the game back into his control and give his side a chance of victory. 

In today’s game, the aggressive move was to bring himself back on early following the Islamabad United middle overs charge and he did just that in Over 15, bowling a 4 run over with the required rate sitting at 7.80. Despite requiring an over from David Wiese to complete the fifth bowler quota, he continued to frontload his premium bowling options between Overs 15 & 19; himself and Haris Rauf bowling two overs apiece, with an over of Zaman Khan mixed in between. In those 5 overs, Qalandars picked up 3 wickets and conceded just 35 runs, reducing Islamabad United to 161/8 – requiring 8 runs from the final over to be bowled by David Wiese as the heavens opened in Lahore.

Shaheen’s captaincy was duly rewarded after a calamitous final over for Islamabad United, with Mohammad Wasim Jr refusing singles and being run out failing to slide his bat in – David Wiese & co dismissing the two remaining batters pulling off a death bowling heist to push Lahore Qalandars into Sunday’s final, where no doubt Shaheen Shah Afridi’s captaincy style will once again have a say on proceedings with the trophy on the line. 

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