Babar, Clarke seal victory for Karachi Kings

By AZ Aamir

KARACHI: Babar Azam (90*) and Joe Clarke (54) hammered solid fifties to help Karachi Kings record their second victory from three outings when they overwhelmed Multan Sultans by seven wickets in their third round fixture of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 here at National Stadium on Saturday.
Babar and Clarke put on 97 runs for the second wicket stand which came off 57 balls as Kings achieved the 196-run target with seven balls to spare after losing three wickets.
The wicket-keeper batsman Clarke, who offered an easy catch to Cris Lynn at mid-off off Shahnawaz Dhani, smacked four sixes and three fours in his brisk 26-ball knock. The English batsman, who brought in his 50 off 24 balls, hit Shahid Afridi for two sixes in the 12th over, before smacking left-arm part-time spinner Khushdil Shah in the next over for two successive sixes which fetched 19 runs.
Babar, earlier, added 56 runs for the opening stand with Sharjeel Khan who fell for 14-ball 27, held by Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps off Shahnawaz Dhani while attempting a pull.
Sharjeel struck one six and four fours in his fiery knock. The left-hander hit Sohail Khan in the third over of the innings for two successive fours and a six and Babar also struck a four in that over which yielded 20 runs.
Colin Ingram was the last man fell for five-ball six with one four. Mohammad Nabi remained not out on eight-ball 13, striking two fours. Babar, who brought in his second successive fifty of the event and his 16th in his PSL career, hammered 13 fours and one six in his sublime 60-ball unbeaten knock.
Kings scored 68 in powerplay. Their fifty came in 25 balls, 100 in 56 deliveries and 150 in 85 balls.
Dhani once again remained impressive with 2-28 in three overs. Sohail Khan (1-48 in 3.5) remained the most expensive of Multan’s bowlers. Earlier, English batsman James Vince (45) and skipper Mohammad Rizwan (43) did well with the bat to enable Multan Sultans post 195-6 in the allotted 20 overs after being invited to bat first.  
The duo added 70 off 42 balls for the second wicket stand to pave way for posting a good total.
Arshad Iqbal broke that dangerous partnership when he had Rizwan, held at long-on by Mohammad Nabi. The wicket-keeper batsman hit five fours in his 32-ball knock.
After the fall of Rizwan, Multan kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Arshad got the prized scalp of Vince in the 14thover. Vince hit five fours in his 32-ball 45. The English batsman also hit left-armer Waqas Maqsood for three successive fours in the sixth over of the innings which yielded 18 runs.
Sohaib Maqsood (34*) then kept one end until the end of the innings when the wickets fell constantly at the other end. Sohaib struck one six and two fours in his 27-ball effort.
The power-play produced 72 runs while in the final five overs the run-quest remained sluggish as only 47 runs came in them during which Multan also lost two wickets.
Earlier, Multan Sultans had a fiery start. Chris Lynn was seen in good touch for the first time in the event after he had scored just two runs in his previous three innings.
Lynn hit a quick-fire 14-ball 32, striking six fours and a six before being dislodged by Imad (1-22 in 4), held comfortably by Babar Azam at cover. Lynn also smacked Mohamamd Amir (1-34 in 4) for a six and two fours in the fourth over of the innings that fetched 18 runs.
Lynn provided a good platform to Multan when he dominated a rapid 53 runs opening stand with Rizwan which came off just 26 balls. Multan’s fifty came in 25 balls, 100 in 56 balls and 150 in 91 deliveries. Arshad Iqbal was the pick of the bowlers with 2-36 in his quota of four overs. Waqas (1-47 in 4) remained the most expensive of Kings’ bowlers. Babar Azam was adjudged as man of the match for his glorious knock. Rashid Riaz and Richard Illingworth supervised the match. Earlier, both teams retained their same squads which played their previous games.

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