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Karachi, 13 March 2020: Multans Sultans registered a sensational three-run win over Peshawar Zalmi at Karachi’s National Stadium on Friday.
The match swung like a pendulum as Zalmi required 15 off the last over. Right-arm medium-fast Ali Shafq, who was playing his first match of HBL PSL 2020, defended fours run of the final ball of the match after bowling two back-to-back no balls in the over.
For a large part of their innings, Zalmi were in control of the run chase. The match turned on its head in the 17th over when Imam-ul-Haq, who scored his first half-century of this season, fell to Sohail Tanvir.
In the next over, Shafiq sent Haider Ali (one off four) and Shoaib Malik (30 off 25) back to the hut. The pressure amplified with the wicket of Hammad Azam (seven off five) on the last ball of the penultimate over as Zalmi lost four wickets for 14 runs.
Left-handed opener, Imam, had set the tone for the run chase with a 41-ball 56 after Zalmi lost Kamran Akmal, the highest run-getter in the history of the HBL PSL, on the second ball of the second over.
Wahab Riaz’s decision of promoting himself to one-drop did not reap fruits as he was dismissed by Sohail Tanvir in the third over and his wicket left the batting side reeling at eight for two.
Imam, who struck four fours and two sixes, weathered the storm with a 48-run partnership for the third wicket with Umar Amin (29 off 23 balls).
As the pair’s stand began to look promising, it was brought to an end by Moeen Ali on the last ball of the ninth over.
But, Imam dispatched Shahid Afridi, bowling his first over of the match, for two consecutive boundaries in the next over to ensure that Zalmi’s run chase did not lose the momentum. He struck Shafiq for a six and a four on the last two balls of the 12th over as Zalmi seemed on their way to a comfortable win.
He crafted a 70-run partnership with Malik for the fourth wicket before Sultans staged the comeback to leave Zalmi shell-shocked.
Sohail was the pick of the bowlers with three for 26, while Shafiq took two scalps and gave 31 runs.
Earlier, wicketkeeper-batsman Zeeshan Ashraf starred in Sultans’ innings as he recorded his second half-century of the 2020 edition.
Opening the batting with Rohail Nazir, who scored run-a-ball 14 on his HBL PSL debut, the 27-year-old scored 52 off 39 balls, studded with seven fours and a six.
Zeeshan, later named player of the match, added 60 runs for the second wicket with his captain, Shan Masood, as Sultans cruised at a run rate of over eight an over.
Their progression, however, was dented by Rahat Ali (4-0-24-3) as he dismissed Zeeshan and Moeen (zero) in a span of three balls in the 12th over. Sultans struggled to stage a recovery as their run rate fell to 6.40 in the next five overs and they eventually settled at 154 for six.
On Saturday, Islamabad United will play their last group match when they face Karachi Kings at the National Stadium, Karachi. The first ball of the match will be bowled at 7pm.
Scores in brief:
Multan Sultans 154-6, 20 overs (Zeeshan Ashraf 52, Khushdil Shah 30 not out, Shan Masood 28; Rahat Ali 3-24)
Peshawar Zalmi 151-7, 20 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 56, Shoaib Malik 30, Umar Amin 29; Sohail Tanvir 3-26, Ali Shafiq 2-31)
Result Multan Sultans win by three runs