KARACHI: Multan Sultans got themselves off the mark in the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 fixture after on the back of captain Mohammad Rizwan’s dazzling batting form to hand Lahore Qalandars their first loss in three matches at the National Stadium here on Friday.
In the first clash of the double header — with Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators playing under lights — Multan kept up with the formula of team batting second and winning —an occurrence seen so far for the seventh time on the trot.
Despite losing two quick wickets upfront, they cruised home serenely to the 158-run target. Sohaib Maqsood, the out-of-favour Pakistan batsman, sealed a seven-wicket triumph by pulling fast bowler Haris Rauf on the roof with 20 balls left unused.
The result was never in doubt once Rizwan and Sohaib had stitched together 110 runs during their 67-ball partnership, and although they survived few close shaves through dropped catches and the ball dropping in the no man’s land on several occasions, there was no way Lahore Qalandars were going to prevent Multan Sultans pulling off their fourth win in eight meetings between them.
Rizwan was the lynchpin behind Multan’s 19th success in the PSL history and the 28-year-old was at the forefront yet again with a wonderful 76 — in a 49-ball gem embedded with 12 exquisite boundaries — and would have targeted another century had he taken a selfish route. Far from that, he allowed Sohaib space to express himself with a typically swashbuckling innings of 61 from 41 balls (seven fours and two sixes).
The wicket-keeper’s run in T20 cricket has been phenomenal since the New Zealand tour, Rizwan’s lowest score in the format had dipped the 40-run mark with a remarkable scoring sequence of 89, 104 not out, 51, 42, 71, 41 and now 76 from the last seven innings. It was a great gesture from Shaheen Shah Afridi to profusely pat Rizwan on the head after claiming his prized wicket.
The worrying point for Multan Sultans, however, was the poor form of Chris Lynn as the Australian’s horrible run continued for the third straight innings. After scoring a single apiece against Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi, the right-hander was undone by a magnificent yorker from Shaheen Shah Afridi that knocked back the off stump.
Earlier, Lahore Qalandars just couldn’t find their rhythm after Rizwan opted to field at the toss. The startling fact from the first half of the afternoon match was Mohammad Hafeez getting dismissed for the first time in this tournament. Following unbeaten scores of 33 and 73 in the opening two fixtures — Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, respectively — the 40-year-old was run out after striker Samit Patel refused to respond to his call as Usman Qadir broke the stumps after collecting the throw from Carlos Brathwaite.
The main hurdle for the Lahore openers, Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar, was the sluggish nature of a pitch — used for the first time in this tournament — as both Fakhar and Sohail found it mighty hard to getting their timing right.
And both perished in trying to force the pace. Sohail (7 off 12 balls) mistimed an intended pull against Brathwaite and offered Usman Qadir a dolly catch, and without addition to the score Fakhar feather-edged Shahnawaz to Rizwan for an 11-ball nine.
Hafeez and Joe Denly — who had come into the playing XI in place of Rashid Khan — made up for the slow start, with the Powerplay yielding only 25 runs for the loss of those two wickets. Hafeez, inevitably, dominated the third-wicket partnership of 89 in 55 deliveries when Brathwaite broke through when Denly (31 off 29 balls, two sixes and two fours) chased a very wide delivery and edged it to the wicket-keeper.
Ben Dunk came and went swiftly after misreading an Usman Qadir and was held at point by Shahid Afridi, who otherwise had another forgetful stint with the ball (0-41 from four overs). The departure of Hafeez for a 35-ball 60, featuring five sixes and three sixes, at the start of the 16th over badly dented Lahore Qalandars’ hopes of putting up a bigger total on the board.
Brathwaite was pick of the Multan bowling with excellent return of 2-20 and his opening over — the forth of the match — was the only maiden of the day.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Fakhar Zaman c Rizwan b Shahnawaz 9 11 1 0 81.81
Sohail Akhtar c Usman b Brathwaite 7 12 1 0 58.33
J.L. Denly c Rizwan b Brathwaite 31 29 2 2 106.89
Mohammad Hafeez run out 60 35 3 5 171,42
B.R. Dunk c Afridi b Usman 1 2 0 0 50.00
S.R. Patel not out 26 20 2 1 130.00
D. Wiese c Brathwaite b Shahnawaz 13 8 1 1 162.50
Shaheen Shah Afridi not out 3 3 0 0 100.00
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-1, W-5) 7
TOTAL (for six wkts, 20 overs) 157
FALL OF WKTS: 1-17 (Sohail), 2-17 (Fakhar), 3-106 (Denly), 4-108 (Dunk), 5-122 (Hafeez), 6-141 (Wiese).
DID NOT BAT: Ahmed Daniyal, Haris Rauf, Salman Mirza.
BOWLING: Sohail Khan 4-0-24-0 (2w); Shahnawaz Dhani 4-0-39-2; Brathwaite 4-1-20-2 (1w); Shahid Afridi 4-0-41-0 (1w); Usman Qadir 4-0-31-1 (1w).
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Mohammad Rizwan c Haris b Shaheen 76 49 12 0 155.10
C.A. Lynn b Shaheen 0 2 0 0 0.00
J.M. Vince c Haris b Patel 5 6 1 0 80.33
Sohaib Maqsood not out 61 41 7 2 148.78
R.R. Rossouw not out 1 2 0 0 50.00
EXTRAS (LB-4, W-10, NB-2) 16
TOTAL (for three wkts, 16.2 overs) 159
FALL OF WKTS: 1-1 (Lynn), 2-30 (Vince), 3-140 (Rizwan).
DID NOT BAT: Khushdil Shah, Shahid Afridi, C.R. Brathwaite, Sohail Khan, Usman Qadir, Shahnawaz Dhani.
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-29-2 (2w); Salman Mirza 2-0-27-0 (1nb, 1w); Patel 3-0-26-1 (1w); Haris Rauf 3.2-0-41-0 (3w); Ahmed Daniyal 3-0-24-0 (1nb, 2w); Wiese 1-0-8-0 (1w).
RESULT: Multan Sultans won by seven wickets.
UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan) and Faisal Afridi (Pakistan).
TV UMPIRE: Shozab Raza (Pakistan).
MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Mahanama (Sri Lanka).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Mohammad Rizwan (Multan Sultans).
Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2021