Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan great, made a brilliant half-century but it went in vain as Lahore Qalandars turned the tables on Karachi Kings in the last five overs to win by seven runs in a thrilling finish to their Pakistan Super League match on Thursday (February 16).
Sangakkara smashed a return-to-form 45-ball 65 while Shoaib Malik knocked 39 off 30 but Lahore kept their nerve once the two former captains were dismissed as Karachi slumped to their third defeat in a row.
Karachi needed 18 off the last over but Mohammad Irfan, the new find, conceded just 10 runs to keep them down to 172 for 8.
For Lahore, Fakhar Zaman scored a 35-ball 56 in a total of 179 for 8 after they were put into bat.
Sangakkara, who failed in the preceding Big Bash in Australia with only 68 runs in five games for Hobart Hurricanes, knocked eight boundaries and a six while Malik hit two sixes as the pair lifted their team from a precarious 21 for 2 with a 101-run stand for the third wicket.
But the 15th over bowled by Sohail Tanvir proved to be the turning point as Sangakkara holed out. With his departure, Karachi’s fortunes dipped.
Chris Gayle had fallen for a seven-ball five while Babar Zaman managed just nine. Gayle, known for his big hitting has managed just 17 in three outings, and as the two went cheaply, Karachi’s hopes took a beating.
But both Sangakkara and Malik batted with resolve to take Karachi to 72 in the first ten overs. Malik then hoisted Grant Elliott for two towering sixes, one out of the ground, and in the next over, Sangakkara lifted Yasir Shah to the midwicket boundary for a four followed by a six.
Both fell in the space of three runs, leaving Karachi needing 55 in the last 4.4 overs. Kieron Pollard (8) and Ravi Bopara (5) failed to lift their team in final overs.
Zaman, knocking at the doors of international cricket, had anchored Lahore’s innings after they too lost their captain and dasher Brendon McCullum (0) and Jason Roy for 26. Zaman, who hit five boundaries and three sixes, added 47 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal.
Umar made a 16-ball 25 with three boundaries and a six. Mohammad Rizwan chipped in with 29.
For Karachi, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan and Usama Mir took two wickets apiece.
Lahore now have two wins from four games. Islamabad United, Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi have two wins each from three matches.
Friday will see Peshawar and Quetta locking horns in the first of the double header, while Islamabad will meet Karachi.