Lahore Qalandars will have to contest their first Pakistan Super League semi-final without star batsman Chris Lynn, who has announced that concerns over the coronavirus mean he will be returning to Australia with immediate effect.
Opener Lynn smashed a 52-ball century to propel Lahore into the last four, but later tweeted: “Unfortunately in these circumstances I’ve chosen to head home. I’ve always said there is more to life than cricket and this is certainly one of these (sic) cases.”
Lahore, which thumped the table-topping Multan Sultans by nine wickets in an empty Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday, faces Karachi in the last four.
Multan will meet 2017 champions Peshawar Zalmi in the other semi-final.
Lahore will host both semi-finals on Tuesday, and also the final on Wednesday, without fans present due to the coronavirus pandemic.
— Geo Super (@geosupertv) March 16, 2020
In reaching his century, Lynn smashed eight sixes and a dozen boundaries against a second-string Multan bowling attack.
He finished unbeaten on a career-best 113 off 55 balls as Lahore breezed to 1-191 in 18.5 overs, in reply to Multan’s total of 6-186.
“It’s great to get triple figures … it was important to get to that semi-final after five years of trying,” Lynn said.
“It was difficult (playing in an empty stadium) but you have to create your own energy when fielding.”
Lahore won three of its past four matches by chasing down targets of 180-plus in a remarkable turnaround of form after losing three in a row at the start of the tournament.
The Qalandars had finished last in all four previous editions of the PSL.
Lynn and Fakhar Zaman (57) blazed a 100-run opening stand off only 54 balls after Multan rested four frontline bowlers – Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir.
The 29-year-old Queenslander continued to hit out and sealed the win by smashing two successive sixes against fast bowler Ali Shafiq, who ended up with 0-40 from his 2.5 overs.
It was just the second defeat in the tournament for Multan, which ended the league stage on top with 14 points.
In Karachi, Shane Watson (66) scored his only second half-century in this season’s PSL as Quetta beat the hosts by five wickets after reaching 5-154 in 16.2 overs.
Khurram Manzoor, playing his first game for Quetta, scored an aggressive 63 and shared a 118-run stand for the second wicket with the Australian after Ahmed Shehzad again failed with the bat and was out for a duck in the first over.
Earlier, Cameron Delport made 62 off 44 before Karachi was restricted to 5-150 as young paceman Naseem Shah returned from an ankle injury and took 2-17 off his four overs.