Islamabad United edge Multan Sultans for record eighth triumph

Published June 20, 2021
ABU DHABI: Islamabad United captain Shadab Khan plays a shot against Multan Sultans during their HBL Pakistan Super League encounter at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday night. —Courtesy PCB
ABU DHABI: Islamabad United captain Shadab Khan plays a shot against Multan Sultans during their HBL Pakistan Super League encounter at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium on Saturday night. —Courtesy PCB

KARACHI: Islamabad United chalked up yet another victory in the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 when they edged past Multan Sultans by four wickets in their top-of-the-table clash at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi late on Saturday night.

In a dress-rehearsal for the Qualifier on Monday against the same opposition, Islamabad created another record as the two-time former winners became the first team to win as many as eight matches in the preliminary round of a single season. The chase for 150 seemed more like a stroll in the park for Shadab Khan’s side, but Multan staged a dramatic comeback in the closing stages, mainly through the heroics of Shahnawaz Dhani and Usman Qadir. However, it was too late by them for a stunning turnaround.

With the result of this last league-round game having no major bearing in the final team standings, Islamabad tinkered with their line-up and allowed the regular opening pair of Colin Munro and Usman Khawaja as well as strike bowler Hasan Ali rest ahead of the rematch between these sides on Monday, while the fit-again Faheem Ashraf returned to the line-up.

On the other hand, Multan opted for several changes as they inducted Usman Qadir, Sohail Khan, Hammad Azam and Mohammad Umar. Treating the encounter like a warm-up fixture proved catastrophic for the Mohammad Rizwan-led side after Shan Masood had given them an electrifying start.

By any standards, Multan’s capitulation from 93-0 in the 10th over to 149 all out on the last ball of the innings was totally unacceptable. Recklessness seemed to have hit them like a virus that never went away. In a bizarre sequence of events, the table-toppers of season 5 lost all their 10 wickets in 63 deliveries for the addition of mere 56 runs to catches.

Mohammad Wasim, the player-of-the-match, was hit for 18 runs in his opening over, and yet, the young pacer came back strongly to bag a career-best 4-30. The 19-year-old from North Waziristan picked three wickets in five deliveries to end the Multan’s innings.

Upfront Shan and Rizwan meant business in a bid to earn psychological points for the backend stage. Multan were going like an express train. Shan treated Wasim as if he was a club bowler and took three boundaries off him in the fourth over while he also escaped being caught by wicket-keeper Akhlaq off leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed on 31.

The partnership between Shan and Rizwan (26 off 24 balls, four boundaries) was worth 95 in 57 balls when the former sliced a simple chance to Ali Khan behind the point area after Iftikhar Ahmed induced a leading edge. Shan’s 37-ball 59 were spiced with six fours and three sixes. Shan’s departure left the door ajar for Islamabad to seize control for rest of the action by taking pace off the ball as just Sohaib Maqsood (12) and Johnson Charles (19) among others got into double figures.

Scores in brief

MULTAN SULTANS 149 in 20 overs (Shan Masood 59, Mohammad Rizwan 26, J. Charles 19, Sohaib Maqsood 12; Mohammad Wasim 4-30, Faheem Ashraf 2-24, Fawad Ahmed 2-25, Iftikhar Ahmed 1-11, Shadab Khan 1-31); ISLAMABAD UNITED 150-6 in 19.4 overs (Shadab Khan 35, Hussain Talat 34, Mohammad Akhlaq 26, Asif Ali 25, Umar Amin 13; Shahnawaz Dhani 2-21, Usman Qadir 2-22, B. Muzarabani 1-16, Mohammad Umar 1-45).

Final standings

(Tabulated under, played, won, lost, tied,

no-result, points, net run-rate):

Islamabad United 10 8 2 0 0 16 +0.859

Multan Sultans 10 5 5 0 0 10 +1.050

Peshawar Zalmi 10 5 5 0 0 10 +0.586

Karachi Kings 10 5 5 0 0 10 -0.115

Lahore Qalandars 10 5 5 0 0 10 -0.589

Quetta Gladiators 10 2 8 0 0 4 -1.786

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2021

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