KARACHI: Multan Sultans scored a hard-fought 12-run win over Karachi Kings to keep their HBL Pakistan Super League 6 playoffs’ aspirations right on track at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
After positing 176-5 on the back of invaluable contributions from Rille Rossouw, Khushdil Shah and Sohaib Maqsood, Multan bowling — led by leg-spinner Imran Tahir and seamer Imran Khan — kept Babar Azam under check as Karachi were restricted to 164-7. Babar finished on 85 but the Pakistan captain lacked the usual fluency when there was desperate need of acceleration.
Multan skipper Mohammad Rizwan manoeuvred his bowlers with great intelligence to ensure Karachi stayed well behind the asking rate as chasing became s touch tough even by Babar’s lofty standards. Hardly a batsman who would go ballistic, Babar went quietly about the job in hand after seeing his opening partner Sharjeel Khan tragically run out when the ball ricocheted off Sohail Khan’s flinging arm onto the stumps at the non-striker end.
Imran Tahir then took care of Martin Guptill and Najibullah Zadran — both making their PSL debut — to strengthen Multan’s grip on the match, which eventually went there for only the second — in six outings — against Karachi.
Babar belatedly tried to take Karachi as close as possible with good support from Chadwick Walton (35 off 23) but the run-out of the West Indian wicket-keeper/batsman changed the entire complexion in favour of Multan.
Imran Khan finally put the seal of approval by taking three wickets in the final over while Babar dejectedly trudged off after hitting five fours and four sixes during his 63-effort in what was his 52nd 50-plus score in T20 cricket.
Earlier in the evening, an eventful last over pushed Multan back in the hunt after runs seemed to have dried up in the middle overs. But Khushdil Shah crunched two boundaries and a six from the final four deliveries of the Mohammad Amir over, which ultimately cost 19 runs, and critically was the difference between winning and losing, as Karachi found out in the chase.
The disgruntled Pakistan left-armer, in contrast, sent down a magnificent 18th over, conceding just three singles and never giving space Khushdil to tee off. The end figures of 0-42 were bitterly disappointed for the spearhead who lately had been in private discussion with Babar for a possible comeback for the T20 World Cup.
After Imad had called correctly at the toss, Multan blazed their way in the powerplay to 60 with bulk of the scoring provided by Sohaib following the dismissal of Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz through a stumping off Imad. The Pakistan discard timed the ball beautifully while striking five boundaries and an effortless six over long-off against the spin of Imad.
But Waqas Maqsood finally had his, forcing his unrelated namesake to chop the ball onto his stumps. The departure of Sohaib (31 off 14) didn’t break the tempo as Rossouw took over the role of aggressor. The former South Africa international’s contribution in the 68-run stand with Rizwan was a 24-ball 44 (seven boundaries).
At the halfway stage, Multan had rocketed to 107-2 and started losing momentum when Rossouw and Rizwan — run out for a rather watchful 29 off 23 — got out in quick succession while Shimron Hetmyer (7) also followed back shortly afterwards, being outfoxed by the recently-retired Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera’s clever subtle of change in pace.
However, Khushdil showed fine composure and attacked when it mattered as the left-hander went to a well-constructed 32-ball unbeaten knock of 44 with the aid four fours and a brace of sixes.
At the time of filing this report, Lahore Qalandars — winners of Wednesday’s opening game of the Abu Dhabi leg against two-time former champions Islamabad United — were in action versus the 2017 PSL winners Peshawar Zalmi late on Thursday night.
(Tabulated under, played, won, lost, tied, no-result, points, net run-rate):
Lahore Qalandars 5 4 1 0 0 8 +0.077
Karachi Kings 6 3 3 0 0 6 +0.463
Peshawar Zalmi 5 3 2 0 0 6 +0.430
Islamabad United 5 3 2 0 0 6 +0.145
Multan Sultans 6 2 4 0 0 4 -0.099
Quetta Gladiators 5 1 4 0 0 2 -0.970
*updated after Karachi Kings vs Multan Sultans match on Thursday
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Rahmanullah Gurbaz st Walton b Imad 3 4 0 0 75.00 Mohammad Rizwan run out 29 23 2 1 126.08 Sohaib Maqsood b Waqas 31 14 5 1 221.42
R.R. Rossouw c Babar b Perera 44 24 7 0 183.33
S.O. Hetmyer c Waqas b Perera 7 9 0 0 77.77 Khushdil Shah not out 44 32 5 2 137.50
Sohail Tanvir not out 14 14 1 0 100.00
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-3) 4
TOTAL (for five wkts, 20 overs) 176
FALL OF WKTS: 1-4 (Rahmanullah), 2-40 (Sohaib), 3-108 (Rossouw), 4-109 (Rizwan), 5-128 (Hetmyer).
DID NOT BAT: Sohail Khan, Shahnawaz Dhani, Imran Tahir, Imran Khan.
BOWLING: Imad Wasim 3-0-34-1 (1w); Mohammad Amir 4-0-42-0 (1w); Waqas Maqsood 4-0-33-1; Arshad Iqbal 2-0-20-0 (1w); Qasim Akram 4-0-34-0; Perera 3-0-12-2.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Sharjeel Khan run out 4 6 0 0 66.66
Babar Azam not out 85 63 5 4 134.92
M.J. Guptill b Imran Tahir 11 16 1 0 68.75
Najibullah Zadran lbw b Imran Tahir 11 6 0 1 183.33
C.A.K. Walton run out 35 23 4 1 152.17
N.L.T.C. Perera c Rahmanullah b Imran Khan 0 2 0 0 0.00
Imad Wasim c Rizwan b Imran Khan 0 1 0 0 0.00 Qasim Akram c Sohaib b Imran Khan 10 3 1 1 333.33
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-6) 8
TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 164
FALL OF WKTS: 1-14 (Sharjeel), 2-57 (Guptill), 3-77 (Najibullah), 4-154 (Walton), 5-154 (Perera), 6-154 (Imad), 7-164 (Qasim).
DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Amir, Waqas Maqsood, Arshad Iqbal.
Bowling: Sohail Khan 4-0-33-0 (1w); Sohail Tanvir 4-0-28-0 (2w); Imran Khan 4-0-28-3 Shahnawaz Dhani 4-0-46-0 (2w); Imran Tahir 4-0-27-2 (1w).
RESULT: Multan Sultans won by 12 runs.
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar and Shozab Raza.
TV UMPIRE: Rashid Riaz.
MATCH REFEREE: Ali Naqvi.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Rilee Rossouw (Multan Sultans).
FRIDAY’S FIXTURE: Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators (9:00pm PST).