With one of the strongest sides on paper, Lahore Qalandars were billed as the tournament favourites by many during the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Sharjah and Dubai.
After the group-stage matches were completed, Lahore found themselves in the last position in the points table with two wins from eight outings, and missed out on the knock-out round. Lahore Qalandars’ owner Fawad Rana lamented his team’s lackluster performance, and identified the absence of Mustafizur Rahman and Yasir Shah as ‘decisive’, reports Dawn.
“It’s sad that we haven’t been able to qualify for the playoffs. I wish the team could have delivered more.” Rana told the press.
Fawad Rana of Qatar Oils, which owns the Lahore franchise, said the loss of Pakistan leg-spinner Shah (doping ban) and Bangladesh paceman Mustafizur Rahman (injury) before the start of the PSL had disrupted the team's plans significantly.
Mustafizur, who in 2015 became the first Bangladesh cricketer to feature in the ICC's ODI team of the year, was among four Bangladesh players picked in the PSL's draft, alongside Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan Papon announced on January 26 that the left-arm pacer would miss the first season of PSL due to some niggle in his shoulder.
“Mustafizur is physically not that strong. He is still working on building his muscles. He is very weak and he expressed some pain in the last match. It will be difficult for him to play outside in this state. We will not take any chance on him before the ICC T20 World Cup,” Papon said.
“If he does get well soon he will play the Asia Cup, if he stays fit then he will play the World Cup, but I believe that in his current situation it is difficult to send him to play outside,” the BCB president added.
In the absence of Mustafizur, Pakistan rookie Ehsan Adil led the bowling attack for Lahore, which comprised the likes of Kevon Cooper, Zohaib Khan and Zia-ul-Haq. Franchise think-tank tried to rope in Brett Lee as a replacement but that did not work out.
Lahore ended their PSL campaign after they were beaten by Islamabad United in the final match of the league stage on February 17, Wednesday. Karachi advanced to the knock-out round thanks to their superior head-to-head advantage over Lahore.
PSL playoffs kick off on February 19, Friday with table-topper Peshawar Zalmi taking on second placed Quetta Gladiators in the semi-final.
The match will begin at 10pm Bangladesh Standard Time (BST).