A two-wicket Sohail Tanvir salvo and an Imran Tahir hat-trick triggered an incredible Quetta Gladiators collapse and laid the foundation for a nine-wicket win for Multan Sultans in the 13th match of the Pakistan Super League 2018 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
After the Sultans won the toss and elected to field first, the Gladiators had a surprise up their sleeves as they left the experienced Kevin Pietersen out of their line-up.
Umar Amin and Shane Watson opened the batting for the Gladiators, whereas Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Tanvir shared the new ball for the Sultans.
Watson hit some crisp boundaries but lost his partner Amin in the fourth over in this fashion.
Amin was replaced by Rameez Raja who, for the record, has no relation with Rameez Raja the cricketer-turned-commentator. Raja tried to slog but had his stumps shattered by Junaid Khan.
By the end of 5 overs, the Gladiators were 29-2, with the bowling side, not for the first time in the PSL 2018, enjoying the upper hand.
Junaid struck again in his next over, this time the dangerous looking Watson (19) departing.
The next two overs saw a boundary each but the 10th proved much more eventful as Rilee Rossouw, after hitting Shoaib Malik for an inside out six, was stumped out the very next ball. In came Bangladesh's Mahmudullah, who hit a six on the first ball he faced before Malik tightened things up.
Here's that entire three-ball sequence:
By the end of 10 overs, the Gladiators were 76-4, with captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Mahmudullah at the crease.
The duo kept the scoreboard ticking for the next few overs before Irfan's reintroduction to the attack got the Sultans another breakthrough; Mahmudullah nicked one back to keeper Kumar Sangakkara.
Sarfraz kept on rotating the strike but his side needed him to provide some fireworks too as they targeted a score around the 150-mark.
Tanvir, however, had other ideas as he removed both Mohammad Nawaz and Sarfraz on back-to-back balls. He couldn't get his hat-trick though.
Imran Tahir claimed a hat-trick in the next over as the Gladiators, who went from 101-5 in the previous over to 102 all out. Here's what was PSL 2018's second hat-trick.
The run chase
The usual combo of Sangakkara and Ahmed Shehzad opened the batting for the Sultans, and both struck a boundary each in the opening over of Rahat Ali.
By the end of 5 overs the Sultans were 33-0 and in a comfortable position to notch their third win of the tournament.
Fast forward five more overs and the Sultans were 63-0 and in complete control of the match.
The Gladiators had to wait until the 11th over for their first wicket when Shehzad departed. But it was too little too late as the Sri Lankan maestro and Sohaib Maqsood saw their side through to a comfortable nine-wicket win.
Tanvir was named the man of the match for his 14-3 figures.
Quetta: Shane Watson, Umar Amin, Rilee Rossouw, Mahmudullah, Rameez Raja, Sarfraz Ahmed(capt&wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Anwar Ali, John Hastings, Hasan Khan, Rahat Ali
Multan: Kumar Sangakkara(wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik(capt), Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, Imran Tahir, Junaid Khan, Saif Badar