MULTAN Sultans batter Rilee Rossouw celebrates after scoring the century against Peshawar Zalmi during their Pakistan Super League match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Friday.—AFP
MULTAN Sultans batter Rilee Rossouw celebrates after scoring the century against Peshawar Zalmi during their Pakistan Super League match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Friday.—AFP

RAWALPINDI: Turning up with renewed hopes after Quetta Gladiators’ Jason Roy had left them numb and helpless two days ago, Peshawar Zalmi probably didn’t deserve to go through a similar experience again against Multan Sultans.

Babar Azam and co. would have believed putting 242 on the board batting first should have been enough for them, only to see Rilee Rossouw do a Roy to them.

The stocky South African, to Zalmi’s horror again, chose them of all teams to break his own record for the HBL Pakistan Super League’s fastest century, plundering the Zalmi bowlers for 121 runs off 51 balls to give the Sultans a four-wicket victory here at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Friday.

The loss has kept Zalmi’s fate hanging, with the former champions needing a win in their final league match against Islamabad United to seal a spot in the playoffs. The Sultans, meanwhile, have reached the knockout stage safely.

After a brilliant team effort had led Zalmi to their second consecutive score of more than 240 runs, barring Rossouw’s two sixes and a four off pacer Arshad Iqbal in the second over, the Sultans had a jittery start to the chase with spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rehman getting openers Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood early.

The dismissals threatened to keep the Sultans at a safe distance from the target but Rossouw’s onslaught against Azmatullah Omarzai in the sixth over — the left-hander using immense power to dispatch the Afghan for three fours and a six — boosted the side to a formidable powerplay score of 66-2.

Kieran Pollard joined the party with two fours and a powerful hit for six off Usman Qadir’s leg-spin in the next over. Rossouw reached his fifty in just 17 balls — joint fastest in PSL history — with a four against Arshad before launching the right-armer for another six over the square-leg boundary.

Pollard brought up his half-century in 22 balls after smashing three consecutive sixes off Mujeeb in the ninth over. The burly Trinidadian, however, failed to negotiate a short ball by veteran pacer Wahab Riaz in the 10th over to depart after adding 52 off 25.

After getting two more boundaries off Usman and one off Wahab in the next two overs, Rossouw saw Tim David getting castled by Omarzai at the other end. Rossouw covered up for two slow overs after the dismissal with a six and a four off Arshad in the 14th over.

After bringing up his century with a single, he took on Omarzai for two sixes and a four in the next over before Saim Ayub made Khushdil Shah Zalmi’s fifth wicket.

It was then Anwar Ali’s job to deal the finishing blow. The seasoned all-rounder launched Saim over long-on for a six to start with before spoiling a good start to the 18th over by Wahab with two fours by the end of it.

With Rossouw falling to Omarzai in the next over, the Sultans were under a bit of pressure but the incoming Usama Mir relieved it with a cut over backward point for a six before Anwar heaved the pacer for another maximum and scooped Arshad behind to wrap up the proceedings on the first ball of the final over.

With the bat, Zalmi were at it again and their explosive yet classy opening pair of Babar (78 off 39) and Saim Ayub (58 off 33), once again, was a treat to watch. The duo combined for their second century partnership in a row — 134 off 70 balls — before cameos by Mohammad Haris, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Azmatullah Omarzai lead them to 242-6.

Saim got Zalmi off the mark with a six as he lifted Sheldon Cottrell off his hips before Babar flicked the pacer for a four through the leg-side. Boundaries kept coming for both openers and Saim showed his class once again when he flicked Ihsanullah’s pace effortlessly over backward square leg for six in the fourth over. The following over saw 17 runs come for Zalmi as Babar uncharacteristically used power over precision to score a six and two boundaries off medium pacer Anwar.

The right-hander drove Ihsanullah through mid-off and pulled him off the front foot in the next over to take Zalmi to 64-0 by the end of the powerplay, eventually bringing up his half-century in just 24 balls.

Saim welcomed leg-spinner Usama in the attack with two consecutive sixes over deep midwicket. The young southpaw stabbed a wide yorker by Pollard out to the deep third-man boundary to bring up his century partnership with Babar in the ninth over before the latter launched Tim David over deep square-leg for six as Zalmi posted 115-0 by the halfway stage.

After Saim had brought up his 50 in 30 balls, the partnership was broken when he fell to Usama in the 12th over before Babar faltered against medium-pacer Abbas Afridi in the next.

The incoming Haris bludgeoned Cottrell for three consecutive sixes in the 14th over before Abbas made Rovman Powell his second victim. Haris (35 off 11) took on Abbas for another six but found the fielder on the following delivery.

Abbas returned to dismiss Haseebullah in the 17th over, which saw Omarzai hit the quick for a six and a four before Kohler-Cadmore smacked Anwar for two more boundaries in a row in the next over.

The final over was an eventful one. After Kohler-Cadmore had launched Anwar for two sixes straight down the ground and a boundary, he fell prey to an extraordinary fielding effort by Pollard in the deep.

The veteran all-rounder jumped to reach out to the ball and catch it with one hand before tossing it up as he lost his balance to step across the boundary rope but brought himself back into position to complete the dismissal. The incoming Wahab smacked Anwar for another six to wrap up Zalmi’s innings.

Current Standings

(Tabulated under: teams, matches, wins, lost, points, net run-rate)

Lahore 9 7 2 14 +1.494

Islamabad 9 6 3 12 -0.713

Multan 9 5 4 10 +0.489

Peshawar 9 4 5 8 -0.584

Quetta 9 3 6 6 -1.120

Karachi 9 2 7 4 +0.358

Scoreboard

PESHAWAR ZALMI:

Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Saim Ayub c Abbas b Usama 58 33 5 4 175.75

Babar Azam c Rizwan b Abbas 73 39 9 2 187.17

Mohammad Haris c Anwar b Abbas 35 11 1 4 318.18

Rovman Powell c Usama b Abbas 2 4 0 0 50.00

Tom Kohler-Cadmore c Pollard b Anwar 38 18 4 2 211.11

Haseebullah Khan c Pollard b Abbas 7 7 0 1 100.00

Azmatullah Omarzai not out 16 6 1 1 266.66

Wahab Riaz not out 7 2 0 1 350.00

EXTRAS (LB-1, W-5) 6

TOTAL (for six wickets, 20 overs) 242

DID NOT BAT: Usman Qadir, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Arshad Iqbal

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-134 (Saim), 2-144 (Babar), 3-166 (Powell), 4-173 (Haris), 5-184 (Haseebullah), 6-235 (Kohler-Cadmore)

BOWLING: Cottrell 3-0-37-0 (1w), Anwar 4-0-66-1 (1w), Ihsanullah 4-0-35-0, Pollard 2-0-26-0 (1w), Usama 2-0-27-1, David 1-0-11-0, Abbas 4-0-39-4 (2w)

MULTAN SULTANS:

Batters & modes of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR

Shan Masood b Mujeeb 5 5 1 0 100.00

Mohammad Rizwan c Haris b Arshad 7 6 0 1 116.66

Rilee Rossouw c Kohler-Cadmore b Omarzai 121 51 12 8 237.25

Kieron Pollard c Omarzai b Wahab 52 25 3 5 208.00

Tim David b Omarzai 2 3 0 0 66.66

Khushdil Shah c Haris b Saim 18 14 2 0 128.57

Anwar Ali not out 24 8 2 2 300.00

Usama Mir not out 11 3 1 1 366.66

EXTRAS (W-4) 4

TOTAL (for six wickets, 19.1 overs) 244

DID NOT BAT: Abbas Afridi, Sheldon Cottrell, Ihsanullah

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-8 (Rizwan), 2-28 (Shan), 3-127 (Pollard), 4-148 (David), 5-206 (Khushdil), 6-227 (Rossouw)

BOWLING: Mujeeb 4-0-46-1, Arshad 3.1-0-50-1 (1w), Wahab 4-0-32-1 (2w), Omarzai 4-0-62-2, Usman 2-0-32-0 (1w), Saim 2-0-22-1

RESULTS: Multan Sultans won by four wickets.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2023

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