Raza inspires Lahore to 17-run win over Quetta in PSL

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Sikandar Raza helped Lahore Qalandars overcome a top-order batting collapse to beat Quetta Gladiators by 17 runs in the Pakistan Super League on Thursday.

The Zimbabwean international anchored defending champions Lahore to 148-7 with a blistering unbeaten 71 off 34 balls after Quetta had flattened the home team to 50-7 halfway through.

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan (2-14) and David Wiese (1-22) strangled Quetta in the middle-overs before Haris Rauf (3-22) further squeezed the opposition in the death overs as Quetta reached 131-7.

Lahore tops the table with 10 points with their only defeat coming against Karachi Kings. Quetta are in danger of losing the playoff spot with just one victory in six games.

Quetta seemed to have picked the best set of bowlers when they snared four wickets inside the six overs of batting powerplay before claiming three more wickets in the next four overs.

Opening batter Fakhar Zaman was one of the three batters to get run out as fast bowlers Naveen-ul-Haq (2-36) of Afghanistan and Umaid Asif (1-36) both impressed in their first game of the season.

Surprisingly, Lahore skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi pushed himself up to No. 5 before he too got run-out after making run-a-ball 16.

Raza and Rashid (21) revived Lahore with a 69-run stand dominated by the Zimbabwean batter, who smashed eight fours and three sixes before Quetta wrapped up the innings when No. 11 batter Zaman Khan was also run-out in the last over.

Quetta had a perfect powerplay and reached 53-1, losing the sole wicket of Yasir Khan (14) before Rashid struck in his second over when he had top-scorer Will Smeed (32) trapped leg before wicket.

Rashid then got dangerman Iftikhar Ahmed (3) caught behind and Martin Guptill, pushed down the order, tried to break through but holed out in the deep of Wiese as Quetta couldn’t get back the momentum.

Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed labored for 28 balls to score unbeaten 27 as Afridi, Zaman and Rauf bowled brilliantly in the death overs and dried up boundaries through their impeccable fast bowling. ___ More AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports