Babar helps Zalmi notch a vital won against Sultans

By our correspondent
RAWALPINDI: Multan Sultans suffered a four-run defeat in a last-over thriller against Peshawar Zalmi at Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi on Tuesday night. Iftikhar Ahmed’s unbeaten half-century went in vain as Peshawar Zalmi edged over the table-toppers in the 21st match of HBL PSL 9.

After choosing to bat first, Peshawar Zalmi put up 204-5 on the board. Saim Ayub and Babar Azam gave the side a solid start courtesy of an 84-run opening partnership.

They took on Mohammad Ali in the third over to get 21 runs on the back of three boundaries and a six. In the following overs, boundaries galore off the bats of both Zalmi openers as they took apart Iftikhar, Khushdil and Jordan making full use of the field restrictions. The duo accumulated 71 runs in the first six overs, which is the highest powerplay score of HBL PSL 9 so far.

Usama Mir, introduced into the attack in the seventh over, was met with two consecutive maximums produced by Saim’s bat. On the last delivery of the over, Usama got his revenge as he pinned Saim (46, 22b, 3x4s, 5x6s) leg-before wicket.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore (5, 9b) stayed on the crease for two quiet overs until he was caught by Tayyab Tahir at deep midwicket to award Usama his second wicket of the innings.

Haseebullah joined Babar in the middle to build a 51-run third-wicket stand, with at least one boundary hit per over during the course of the partnership. Babar brought up his 85th T20 half-century in the 14th over, taking 35 deliveries to do so.

In the next over, Usama outfoxed Babar with a ball that castled into his stumps and the right-arm batter had to walk back after an impressive knock of 64 off 40 balls, with a tally of seven fours and two sixes.

Jordan then rattled Haseebullah’s (31, 20b, 3x4s, 1×6) stumps on the third ball of the 17th over as the fourth wicket fell for Zalmi with 166 on the board.

Rovman Powell (23 not out, 15b, 1×4, 2x6s) and Aamir Jamal (12, 5b, 1×4, 1×6) chipped in with unbeaten scores to help Zalmi post 204-5.

Usama, the leading wicket-taker in HBL PSL 9 bagged three wickets, taking his tally of wickets to 18 while Jordan picked up two.

Saim once again opened the bowling for Zalmi and was taken for a boundary and a six by Mohammad Rizwan as he showcased his intent from the get-go.

Mehran Mumtaz, making his HBL PSL debut, bagged his maiden wicket as he broke the 35-run opening partnership after dismissing Reeza Hendricks for a 10-ball five-run outing in the fifth over. Sultan finished the powerplay with 40 runs on the board for the loss of a solitary wicket..

At the start of the eighth over, Jamal gathered the ball at mid-on and targeted the non-striker’s end to run out Rizwan (32, 24b, 2x4s, 1×6). In the following over, Salman Irshad dropped Tayyab at short third to deprive Mehran of his second wicket, who ended his four-over spell with a wicket at the expense of 20 runs. To add insult to injury, Tayyab hit Salman for two fours in the subsequent over.

Aamir, bowling the 12th over, picked up two wickets to further trouble the Sultans; Dawid Malan (19, 19b, 1×4) fell to a magnificent catch by Asif at deep backward square while Saim plucked Tayyab (26, 18b, 4x4s) out at deep square.

Khushdil (11, 10b, 1×4) was caught behind on Naveen’s bowling in the 16th over, bringing Jordan in the middle. The sixth-wicket partnership between Jordan and Iftikhar yielded an unbeaten 75 runs off just 28 deliveries, bringing Multan Sultans close to the target, as they fell just four runs short.

Iftikhar, who brought up his half-century in the penultimate over, finished with an unbeaten 60 from 27 on the back four boundaries and five maximums. His partner, Jordan, hit an undefeated 20 on 12 with three fours and two sixes.

Mehran and Naveen had a wicket each and Aamir dismissed two batters.

Scores in brief:

Peshawar Zalmi beat Multan Sultans by four runs

Peshawar Zalmi 204-5, 20 overs (Babar Azam 64, Saim Ayub 46; Usama Mir 3-32, Chris Jordan 2-33)

Multan Sultans 200-5, 20 overs (Iftikhar Ahmed 60 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 32, Chris Jordan 30 not out; Aamir Jamal 2-36)

Player of the match – Babar Azam (Peshawar Zalmi)

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