Zaman, the shining light for Lahore Qalandars
Lahore Qalandars opener Fakhar Zaman struck a stellar 94 against the Quetta Gladiators on Wednesday night. - Muhammad Sajjad
It was not quite the soldier's fatigues but the dash of fluorescent green of the Lahore Qalandars' jersey may have felt like one for Fakhar Zaman.
Nicknamed the 'Fauji,' which means 'soldier,' the former Navy man unleashed a brutal yet clinical assault on the Quetta Gladiators bowling attack at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday night.
And a first century in this edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) and only the second in the tournament's history, was there for the taking for the southpaw.
Opener Zaman, though, fell short by six runs but his 94 aced the previous best of 90 not out scored by Quetta Gladiators' Shane Watson against the Karachi Kings.
Zaman's stellar innings proved to be the highlight in what was an inconsequential fixture. The Quetta Gladiators had already booked their ticket for the play-offs, while the slow-burning Lahore Qalandars, rooted at the bottom of the table, were playing for pride.
And pride, Zaman did give, with that epic knock and it was enough to fire up the Lahore Qalandars.
For the record, the Lahore Qalandars beat the Quetta Gladiators by 17 runs for their third win in nine games.
The Lahore Qalandars were two for 53 and then three down for 73 after being told to have the first go on the surface. And it was all building up towards another one of their epic collapses.
But Zaman and Gulraiz Sadaf put their heads down and gave the ideal riposte. Zaman's epic cast the mind back to the ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval, where he dismantled Virat Kohli's India with a classic 114, his maiden ODI ton.
Zaman brought up his half-century, his first in this edition, from 36 balls, with five boundaries and two sixes.
Qalandars were 88 for three then with 12 overs gone and then Zaman stepped on the pedal, treating Mir Hamza with disdain. Zaman smacked a six and a boundary off successive balls from the medium and then finished it off with another boundary off the penultimate ball of the 13th over.
There was more to come as Zaman smoked Rahat Ali for three sixes and a boundary as 24 runs came from the 15th over.
Having moved to 94, Zaman went for broke but could only manage to shove Anwar Ali down Hasan Khan's throat at long-off.
Sadaf took the cue from Zaman and clobbered Shane Watson for two sixes in the 19th over to boost their total.
After single fixtures over the two days, it is back to the double headers with Peshawar Zalmi taking on the Karachi Kings followed by the Quetta Gladiators meeting Islamabad United on Thursday night.
Lahore Qalandars: 186 for 4 in 20 overs (Fakhar Zaman 94, Gulraiz Sadaf 42 not out, Sunil Narine 20 not out, Anton Devcich 18) beat Quetta Gladiators: 169 for 6 in 20 overs (Rilee Rossouw 42, Jason Roy 36, Sarfraz Ahmed 28 not out, Sunil Narine 2-22, Yasir Shah 2-35) by 17 runs.