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Ronchi inflicts more pain on Qalandars
By Mohammad Abdullah March 09, 2018
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Dubai: Luke Ronchi hit a blitzkrieg 77 to guide Islamabad United to a six-wicket win over Lahore Qalandars in a PSL match on Thursday.

Ronchi smashed 77 from 41 balls as Islamabad chased down the target of 164 with 14 balls to spare to register their second successive win in the tournament.

The New Zealand wicket-keeper has been in a great form of late as he played a similar knock in the last game as well when he smashed 71 off 37 balls to help his team chase down 154 with eight wickets in hand against Karachi Kings.

Ronchi’s innings was laced with five boundaries and six sixes. Shadab Khan (32) and JP Duminy (21) also made useful contributions in the run chase.

Sunil Narine was the most successful bowler for Lahore, finishing with three wickets for 28 runs in four overs while Imran Khan picked up one wicket.

Earlier batting first, Lahore reached 163 for 8 in 20 overs with Anton Devcich top-scoring for his side with 62 runs from 42 balls which included four boundaries and three sixes. Fakhar Zaman (34) and Brendon McCullum (33 not out) also helped their team to go past the 160-run mark.

Early on, Zaman went after the United bowlers whereas Devcich was happy to play a foil. By the end of five overs, the Qalandars had amassed 47 runs for no loss — a strong start for them

Zaman departed in the sixth over, following which Devcich took the torch, freeing up his arms and punishing JP Duminy for three boundaries in the 9th over.

The kiwi southpaw brought up his half-century in the 10th over, by the end of which the Qalandars were 94-1 and cruising.

The league’s bottom-dwellers lost their second wicket in the 12th over, this time Agha Salman (8) departing off the bowling of Shadab Khan, whose two overs until that point had seen just nine runs conceded, somewhat curtailing the Qalandars’ hopes of setting a 200-run target.

Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers for Islamabad with three wickets for 32 runs in four overs while Duminy, Mohammad Sami and Shadab Khan got a wicket each.

With this win, Islamabad United have notched up eight points from six matches while Lahore Qalandars are yet to register a win in the competition. Multan Sultans lead the tally with nine points.

With just two points separating top four teams, the race for the knock out spots has hot up.

The top two sides from the group stages will clash first qualifier for the direct berth in the final.

The third and fourth ranked teams will face off in the first eliminator on March 20.

The winner of first eliminator will take on the loser of qualifier. The winner of the second eliminator and first qualifier will meet in the final in Karachi on March 25.

Unlike the previous season, it will be mandatory for overseas players to feature in these games in Pakistan.

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