CricViz analyst Kieran Parmley takes a look at the latest action in the PSL.
Lahore Qalandars got the better of Islamabad United to register an 8 run victory in a thrilling encounter which saw Islamabad United dominate the middle overs – in both innings – only to fall short in the death overs.
Fakhar and Shafique’s Early Onslaught
Lahore Qalandars were quick out of the blocks after being put in to bat by Shadab Khan, finishing on 73-0 at the end of the Powerplay – only today’s opponents have registered higher Powerplay scores (81-1 and 78-0) so far this season. The differing approaches of Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique combined to make bowling difficult for the Islamabad United pace attack, with Fakhar Zaman using his feet and coming down the track three times and twice scoring boundaries to disrupt the lengths of the United pacers. As a result, the United pace attack dropped their lengths back, allowing Abdullah Shafique to sit on the back foot for 13 of his 19 Powerplay deliveries faced – scoring 21 runs from those 13 deliveries. It was the perfect one-two punch from Lahore Qalandars, a left hand-right hand combination with complimenting abilities put Islamabad United on the back foot early on.
Shadab Dominates the Right Handers
Despite a good start, the Lahore Qalandars batting combination was on the back foot against leg spin through the middle overs. As a collective since the start of 2020, today’s top six average just 21 runs per dismissal with a 128 strike rate against leg spin – it’s no surprise to see such mediocre numbers considering five of the top six are right-handers and the sole left-hander, Fakhar Zaman, is averaging just 23 against leg spin within this timeframe.
So enter the in-form Shadab Khan, who with a combination of leg-spinners on a tight line to the right-handers and a wide googly to left-hander Fakhar Zaman, tore through the Lahore Qalandars middle order, registering figures of 4-20 from his four overs.
Qalandars Capitalise at the Death
After a setback against Shadab Khan, Lahore Qalandars cashed in at the Death with quickfire contributions from Harry Brook (28 off 15) and Rashid Khan (15 off 8), Brook in particular showing his ability down the ground to punish some poor bowling from the Islamabad United attack – who conceded 25 runs from the 8 full balls they bowled at the death. A score of 174-9 looked competitive considering a Qalandars attack featuring Shaheen Shah Afridi and Rashid Khan was to follow.
Shaheen Kickstarts the Innings
Despite Islamabad United’s impressive Powerplay batting in PSL7, Shaheen Shah Afridi dialled up his aggression with the new ball in the Islamabad United run chase with 77% of his deliveries pitching fuller than 6.25m – his highest figure for a PSL game to date. Alex Hales’ wicket was the only reward for his troubles, picking the Englishman’s wicket with a 128kph slower ball. Colin Munro was fortunate to survive after being pinned on the crease by a 147kph delivery – the fastest of Shaheen’s new ball spell. Shaheen’s variety and over construction with the new ball is becoming increasingly difficult for opening batters to face and there must’ve been some temptation to give him a third over and really attack Islamabad United’s deep batting – the young skipper resisted that urge.
Shadab and Munro Control the Middle Overs
Unlike the Lahore Qalandars batting unit, Islamabad United nailed their plans against leg spin with the bat with Colin Munro and Shadab Khan operating through the Middle Over phase of the innings. Both players have an exceptional record between Overs 7 and 15 so far in PSL 7 – scoring a combined 191 runs from 115 balls with just 1 dismissal and an impressive 166 strike rate. The wicket taking threat of Rashid Khan was also somewhat nullified with both players registering impressive records against leg spin – Munro averaging 39 runs per dismissal since the start of 2020 and Shadab 53 within the same timeframe.
Qalandars Fight Back at the Death
Following the Middle Overs partnership from Shadab and Munro, Islamabad United required 39 runs from the final 5 overs, usually a foregone conclusion against most sides but perhaps a tricky task against Lahore Qalandars, who had a combined 4 overs up their sleeve from Rashid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
Shaheen immediately turned to Rashid Khan, who picked up the wicket of Shadab Khan with a tossed up googly, opening up one end at the crease. What followed was an extreme death bowling approach from the remaining pace attack which saw 50% of deliveries pitched full and 42% of deliveries short, as well as 35% of deliveries above 140kph – a very aggressive and on this occasion effective plan with Azam Khan and Asif Ali, players who struggle against high pace and short deliveries at the crease. Zaman Khan was able to defend 12 runs in the final over to round off the game as Lahore Qalandars exploited a small chink in the armour Islamabad United’s batting unit to move above the side in red to second palace in the PSL table.