Multan Sultans’ Sheldon Cottrell (left) celebrates the wicket of Lahore Qalandars’ Abdullah Shafique (not pictured) during their Pakistan Super League (PSL) match at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday. AFP
Kieron Pollard and Sheldon Cottrell lifted Multan Sultans to their third straight Pakistan Super League final with an 84-run win over defending champion Lahore Qalandars as the match went ahead despite political unrest in the eastern city on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board went ahead with the qualifier at the Gaddafi Stadium after police had clashed with supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan outside his residence.
Pollard perfectly paced Multan’s total to 160-5 in the latter half of the innings with 57 off 34 balls that featured three of his six sixes struck in an over to Shaheen Shah Afridi (0-47) in the death overs.
Cottrell then cut through Lahore’s top-order with his left-arm swing bowling, claiming three wickets inside the powerplay, as Lahore failed to chase down for the fourth time this season and was bowled out for 76 in 14.3 overs.
Lahore gets another chance to go advance to Sunday’s final against Multan when it takes on the winner of Thursday’s elimination match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi.
Rashid Khan (1-18) and David Wiese (0-24) clamped down Multan with their impressive bowling as the Afghanistan legspinner erred in his length only once when Pollard smashed a big six over against him over wide mid-on.
Rashid clean bowled captain Mohammad Rizwan (33) with a perfect googly but the Multan skipper completed 500 runs for the third successive season.
Pollard cut loose in the last five overs against Lahore pace and added 65 runs with Tim David, who made an unbeaten 22. However, both batters got reprieve against some sloppy Lahore fielding with Sam Billings and Hussain Talat dropping sitters.
Haris Rauf (3-34) claimed two wickets in the last over when he first uprooted the off stump of Pollard and then Khushdil Shah was bowled first ball when he played the ball back onto his stumps.
Cottrell struck twice in his second over when he had Mirza Baig caught behind and then Abdullah Shafique played across the line to a straight delivery and fell leg before wicket without scoring.
Anwar Ali, who shared the new ball with Cottrell, then clean bowled Fakhar Zaman before Afridi, who surprisingly promoted himself to No. 5, holed out at covers off Cottrell’s full toss and Lahore limped to 4-28 inside the first five overs.
Sam Billings (19) was one of the three batters to reach double figures before Lahore, which topped at the end of league stage with 14 points from seven wins, was bundled out with more than five overs to spare.