Lahore Qalandars were off to their customary flyer. Fakhar Zaman was being a little bit circumspect (his attacking stroke percentage was down by 12%), while Sohail Akhtar showed that he isn’t a one trick pony. The opening stand took them to 92 in the 11th over. Captain Sami, Shadab Khan and Samit Patel had gone for runs. But the rookie Waqas Masood, had given away only 12 runs in two power play overs. The youngster understood the pitch and bowled back of length, trying to minimize width provided to batsmen. Two balls, he was off he went for 8 runs.
But his real test was when he came back to ball to a set ABD. Lahore had already taken 20 runs off Hussain Talat. Sami was looking for options to cover for overs. While Delport bowled two economical overs, Islamabad United couldn’t afford their rookie to go for runs. Waqas, did one better. He picked up the South African deceiving him with tight length and a slower one. While, Phil Salt took the accolades for a wonderful catch, it was Waqas who was brave enough to ball the slower one on a length against one of the most dangerous batsman of a world, which fairly shot boundaries. With him, went Lahore’s chance of scoring 200. Neither Brathwaite nor Devcich could get a hold of Waqas and he gave just 25 runs in this quota. Considering how Lahore began, they would be supremely disappointed in scoring just 41 in the last 5 overs. In those 5 were two by Waqas, where they could only score 13.
Waqas Masood, who debuted for Pakistan in their home season has grown leaps and bounds in the last 18 months or so. Under the data driven culture of Islamabad United and the skill based coaching of Waqar Younus, Masood is completely different bowler than what he before he joined United. That reflected in his performances in the National T20 tournament. And now is starting to pay dividends for the work United did with him in the background.