PSL T20: Bopara stars in Karachi win over Lahore
Sharjah - English all-rounder plays pivotal role in win over Lahore Qalandars at Sharjah stadium.
'Bopara, Bopara' reverberated through the sold-out Sharjah Cricket Stadium as the England all-rounder came up with a one-man show to lift Karachi Kings past Lahore Qalandars in the 12th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Friday.
The match was filled with fluctuating fortunes making the crowd go ballistic. The atmosphere was electric and the players were all charged up on seeing the stadium chock-a-block. Every player wanted to give it their best shot but only one player stood out and that was Ravi Bopara.
The England all-rounder struck a whirlwind unbeaten 71 and backed it up with impressive bowling figures of 4-0-16-6 to give Karachi a 27-run win and take them to four points, while Lahore languish at the bottom with two points. Speaking after the match captain Shoaib Malik showered praise on the all-rounder. "We were one step away. Credit goes to the boys and especially Ravi Bopara.
It was a one-man show. We all know our games and that is what Ravi is doing. Winning against Lahore is always a pleasure. We have beaten them in the first round and today as well."
Put into bat Karachi, desperately needing a win to stay afloat in the competition, saw Malik taking it upon himself to open the batting. Along with Nauman Anwar they gave their side a good start of 50 runs.
Anwar departed scoring a breezy 35 from 25 balls (three sixes and two fours) and Malik managed 37 from 25 balls (two fours and a six). After 10 overs Karachi were well placed at 73 for 2. But Zohaib Khan and Zafar Gohar claimed two wickets each to put the brakes on their scoring. They couldn't stop Ravi Bopara though.
Bopara who failed to take his team past the line on Thursday against Peshawar Zalmi after coming so close with a superb 67, once again was the backbone of the Karachi innings with an unbeaten 71.
A six off Dwayne Bravo to bring up his 50 had the crowd chanting 'Bopara, Bopara'. And he continued playing to gallery whacking Bravo for another six and a four in the 19th over to bring the fans on their feet. In the end when even 150 looked impossible Bopara took the total to 178 for 5. That target looked small when Chris Gayle and Cameron Delport were at the crease and got cracking to take Lahore to 50 without loss.
Delport seemed in a hurry to finish the match as he whipped up 55 from 39 balls (seven fours and two sixes). Though Lahore at one stage were 90 for no loss after 10 overs at no stage did Karachi drop their guard. Once Usman Mir gave them the breakthrough by removing Delport the show belonged to Bopara. He first got rid of dangerman Gayle and then had Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo, Mohammad Rizwan, Hammed Azam and Naved Yasin to end it.
"It was a good game. I am just glad that we got over the line, finally," said Bopara on being adjudged the man of the match.
"We have been close a few times, but today we crossed the line. Don't ask me, I don't know myself (referring to his 6-fer). Today was my day. The ball gets lower and lower as the day sets in."
Lahore skipper Bravo said: Congratulations to Ravi and the team. We had it in our hand but we let go. Tough luck for my boys. But we have to move on and look forward to the next match. We dropped plenty of catches and the seniors have to lead from the front."
Karachi Kings 178 for 5 (Ravi Bopara 71 not out, Nauman Anwar 35, Shoaib Malik 27; Zohaib Khan 2/35, Zafar Gohar 2/26)
Lahore Qalandars 151 for 8 (Cemron Delport 55, Chris Gayle 37; Ravi Bopara 6/16). Man of the match: Ravi Bopara.
Today's matches Sharjah Cricket Stadium 3.30pm: Quetta Gladiators vs Karachi Kings 8pm: Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi