Multan Sultans prevail over Quetta Gladiators

Published February 26, 2024
MULTAN: Reeza Hendricks of Multan Sultans in action during the match against Quetta Gladiators at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Sunday.—AFP
MULTAN: Reeza Hendricks of Multan Sultans in action during the match against Quetta Gladiators at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Sunday.—AFP

MULTAN: A swashbuckling half-century from Reeza Hendricks backed by pacer Mohammad Ali’s precise bowling steered Multan Sultans to a 13-run victory over Quetta Gladiators here at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

The win — the fourth in five games for Sultans — kept the Mohammad Rizwan-led on top in the six-team league. Gladiators are second on the table with three wins in four outings. With Sunday’s match the Multan leg of PSL 9 also ended. Ali with impressive bowling figures of 3-19 off his four overs that included a maiden over, richly earned the man-of-the-match award.

Defending a solid 180-4, Sultans restricted Gladiators to 167 for nine.

After being sent in to bat by Gladiators’ skipper Rilee Rossouw, Sultans started their innings with Rizwan and Usman Khan who was playing his first PSL 9 game.

Right-handed Usman (14 off seven), who had cracked three fours in the opening over bowled by West Indian spinner Akeal Hosein, was deceived by Gladiators’ mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed while trying to play a belligerent stroke as Sarfaraz Ahmed removed the bails.

South African Hendricks joining Rizwan boosted the innings with a 79-run second-wicket partnership.

Akeal broke their partnership in the 14th over when Rizwan while attempting a big shot was caught by Saud Shakeel at deep midwicket. The skipper walked back after scoring his 18th PSL half-century featuring two fours and four sixes.

Tayyab Tahir, also playing his first game of PSL 9, then partnered with Hendricks for a 77-run stand off mere 6.3 overs that lifted Sultans to a fighting total.

In the last five overs, Sultans amassed 68, with 18th and 19th overs fetching them 17 runs each.

Hendricks was dismissed by Mohammad Amir in the final over after smashing a 47-ball 72 that included seven boundaries and four sixes. The South African player in the process overtook Qalandars’ opener Sahibzada Farhan as the tournament’s leading run-scorer. Iftikhar Ahmed was sent back by Amir on the penultimate ball of the innings for a first-ball duck.

Tayyab finished with an unbeaten 35 from 22, including four boundaries and a six. Amir bagged two wickets while Abrar and Akeal picked up one each.

Chasing 181, Gladiators lost both their opening batters inside powerplay with English Jason Roy (12) falling on an exceptional ball by Ali in the third over.

Left-handed Saud (24 off 13) was caught at mid-on by leg-spinner Usama Mir off David Willey, another player from England, as Gladiators were restricted to 42-2 in the sixth over.

Khawaja Nafay and Rossouw combined to add 62 runs quickly for the third wicket until debutant pacer Aftab Ibrahim dismissed the latter on the last ball of the 12th over as Khushdil Shah took a stunning catch at extra cover. Rossouw made 30 off 18, striking a four and two sixes.

Sajjad Ali (two), coming in as a concussion substitute for Sarfaraz, was stumped by Rizwan off Usama as Gladiators slumped to 107-4 in the 13th over.

They faced a massive setback when Ali dismissed Nafay (36 off 31) who found Usama behind point in the 15th. The batter smashed two fours and as many sixes.

Sherfane Rutherford contributed 21 from 14, including two sixes, before he was caught and bowled by Willey in the 17th over. In the same over, Mohammad Wasim Jr (one) also fell causing Gladiators to slide to 136-7.

Left-handed Amir chipped in with 12 off eight, including two fours, before Ali rattled his stumps in the penultimate over while Aftab in the final over, removed Abrar on the last ball of the innings to give Multan a well-deserved triumph. Willey bagged three wickets while Aftab picked up two.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2024

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