KARACHI: Multan Sultans captain Mohammad Rizwan kicked off the year with another half-century while Imran Tahir took three wickets as the defending champions got off to a winning start in the seventh edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League here at the National Stadium on Thursday.
Chasing 125 after Babar Azam’s Karachi Kings struggled to impress with the bat on what looked like a placid pitch, 2021 ICC T20I Cricketer of the Year Rizwan smashed an unbeaten 52 off 47 balls, smashing five fours and one six to help the Sultans win by seven wickets.
Rizwan’s opening partner Shan Masood gave them a solid start before being dismissed for 26 off 18 balls after hitting two fours a six.
Sohaib Maqsood made 30 of 31 with two sixes but his dismissal, stumped off a wide by Mohammad Nabi in the 15th over, had the Sultans in a bit of a worry as South African veteran Rilee Rossouw departed soon afterwards.
But with Rizwan at the crease, they got past the line with 10 balls to spare with Singaporean-Australian all-rounder Tim David (12 not out) lifting Nabi out of the park for a six.
Earlier, it was all about former South Africa leg-spinner Tahir who capitalised on a slow start by Karachi Kings openers Babar and Sharjeel Khan.
The home fans would have expected the duo to take less than the 11 balls they took to score the first boundary of the PSL when the Kings captain whipped Imran Khan through midwicket.
The boundary seemed like it would help the openers change gears, and it did. But not for very long.
In the third over, Sharjeel punished left-arm medium pacer David Willey for bowling too short. The powerful southpaw heaved the second ball for a four past deep square-leg and the fifth ball for a six over midwicket boundary.
What followed was a 36-ball boundary drought which started with Pakistan pacer Shahnawaz Dahani conceding only two runs off his first over.
Sharjeel got them back on track with a six when Rizwan handed the ball to David in the ninth over. The opener pounced on a full toss, slogging it over square-leg and then smashed a half volley for a long hit over wide long-on.
Rizwan sensed potential danger and introduced veteran Tahir into the attack in the tenth over. The decision paid dividends and on his second delivery, Sharjeel was gone.
Playing a googly against the spin, Sharjeel could only to edge it high in the air for Shan to take an easy catch.
The made 43 runs off 31 balls to the total, hitting three fours and as many sixes.
The next eight balls saw only five runs being scored and Babar departing too when he mistimed an attempt to clear long off off Khushdil Shah’s flighted delivery in the 11th over with Willey taking a comfortable catch. Babar managed only 23 off 29, hitting only one boundary.
Kings managed only one four after Babar’s departure, when wicket-keeper/batter Joe Clarke pulled Willey’s lose half-tracker towards fine-leg.
Tahir capitalised on Multan’s dominance and ended up with figures of 3-16 after taking a simple catch off his own bowling to dismiss Mohammad Nabi before cleaning up Tom Lammonby in the 16th over.
Dahani also chipped in with a wicket when Clarke lifted a fuller one by him only to be taken by Rossouw at deep midwicket. The English batter added 26 off 24 to the total.
Lewis Gregory went not out, contributing 14 off 16, hitting Karachi’s last boundary in the 18th over.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Sharjeel Khan c Shan b Tahir 43 31 3 3 138.70
Babar Azam c Wiley b Khushdil 23 29 1 0 79.31
J. Clarke c Rossouw b Shahnawaz 26 24 1 0 108.33
Mohammad Nabi c&b Tahir 10 17 0 0 58.82
T. Lammonby b Tahir 1 2 0 0 50.00
L. Gregory not out 14 16 1 0 87.50
Aamer Yamin not out 1 3 0 0 33.33
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-2, NB-2, W-1) 6
TOTAL (for five wkts, 20 overs) 124
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-66 (Sharjeel), 2-71 (Babar), 3-103 (Nabi), 4-105 (Lammonby), 5-110 (Clarke).
DID NOT BAT: Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Taha, Umaid Asif, Mohammad Ilyas
BOWLING: Willey 4-0-29-0, Imran 4-0-32-0 (1nb), Shahnawaz 3-0-14-1 (1nb), David 2-0-19-0 (1w), Tahir 4-0-16-3, Khushdil 2-0-8-1, Ihsanullah 1-0-3-0.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
Shan Masood c Gregory b Ilyas 26 18 2 1 144.44
Mohammad Rizwan not out 52 47 5 1 110.63
Sohaib Maqsood st Clarke b Nabi 30 31 0 2 96.77
R. Rossouw c Clarke b Nabi 2 4 0 0 50.00
T. David not out 12 10 0 1 120.00
EXTRAS (B-2, W-2) 4
TOTAL (for three wkts, 18.2 overs) 126
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-38 (Shan), 2-101 (Sohaib), 3-103 (Rossouw),
DID NOT BAT: Khushdil Shah, D. Willey, Imran Tahir, Imran Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Ihsanullah.
BOWLING: Aamer 2-0-14-0, Imran 3-0-30-0, Ilyas 1-0-2-1, Umaid 2-0-10-0, Taha 4-0-32-0 (1w), Gregory 3-0-19-0, Nabi 3.2-0-17-2 (1w)
RESULT: Multan Sultans won by seven wickets.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Imran Tahir (Multan Sultans)
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and R. Illingworth (England).
TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan).
MATCH REFEREE: R. Mahanama (Sri Lanka).
Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2022