Sultans conquer Gladiators to secure qualifier berth

By our correspondent
KARACHI: Multan Sultans reign supreme at the points table after they inflicted a heavy 79-run defeat over Quetta Gladiators at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Tuesday night. Batting first, Multan scored 185-4 on the back of half-centuries by Mohammad Rizwan and Johnson Charles. Three-wicket hauls each by David Willey and Usama Mir skittled Quetta for just 106.
After their victory today, Sultans have joined Zalmi in the HBL PSL 9 qualifier, which will be played at National Bank Stadium at 9 PM on 14 March
Multan Sultans’ opening batters, Yasir Khan and Mohammad Rizwan could only manage a 16-run opening stand with the former caught behind for 12 on 11, with two fours, in the third over, after Gladiators opted to field first.
What followed was a 52-run second-wicket stand as Usman Khan joined Rizwan in the middle to bring stability to Multan’s innings after the early wicket. In the fifth over, Rizwan hit a six while Usman hit two consecutive fours to get the scoreboard moving. Sultans ended the powerplay at 43-1.
In the 10th over, Usman (21, 23b, 3x4s) was stunned by Abrar Ahmed, who bowled a magic delivery to outfox the right-hand batter.
Johnson Charles, the next batter in, partnered with Rizwan for the longest partnership of the innings; yielding 68 from 43 deliveries. Charles, who contributed 32 from 19 to the partnership, played the aggressor role.
the 14th over, Rizwan brought up his 64th T20 half-century, doing so off 35 deliveries. The next two overs, which yielded 12 each, saw Rizwan hit a six while Charles powered the ball to the boundary twice.
In the 17th over, Mohammad Amir dismissed Rizwan (69, 47b, 1×4, 4x6s) after he mistimed a leg-cutter, which was caught by the Quetta skipper, Rilee Rossouw.
The fourth-wicket partnership between Charles and Iftikhar Ahmed propelled Multan to a comfortable total, after the two added 46 off just 18, with the last three overs yielding 42 runs.
Mohammad Wasim Jnr removed Charles (53, 29b, 6x4s, 3x6s) on the fourth ball of the final over, after the batter had brought up his 36th T20 half-century off 27 balls. Iftikhar (20, 8b, 2x4s, 1×6) remained unbeaten at the other end, after pushing the Sultans total to 185-4.
Amir bagged two wickets while Abrar and Wasim had one each.
In return, Quetta Gladiators had a horror start to the chase as they lost four early wickets. In the third over, David Willey first trapped Jason Roy (3, 7b) leg-before on the second ball.
Then, the last delivery of the over saw Saud Shakeel (14, 9b, 1×4, 1×6) being run out by Yasir who perfected his aim at the stumps from backward point, with the Quetta opener halfway down the crease.
Rossouw (10, 9b, 2x4s) hit two fours in the next over to keep the scoreboard moving, however, lost his wicket on the final ball of the fifth over when Willey rattled the Quetta skipper’s stumps.
Quetta finished the powerplay at 46-3. Trouble deepened when Laurie Evans (1, 2b), the next batter in, was caught by Chris Jordan at short midwicket off Abbas Afridi, leaving Gladiators 47-4.
Then, Khawaja Nafay joined Omair bin Yousuf on the crease for a 26-run fifth-wicket partnership. He hit a four on the last ball of the seventh over. In the following over, Omair produced one four while Nafay smashed a six. Quetta got to 73-4 at the halfway mark.
On the first ball of the 11th over, Nafay (16, 14b, 1×4, 1×6) was pinned leg-before wicket by Mohammad Ali after Multan reviewed the on-field decision.
Omair managed to score 37 off 25, on the back of three fours and two maximums, before he was caught by Jordan in the 12th over, providing Usama Mir his 19th HBL PSL 9 wicket. In the next over, Akeal Hosein edged to Rizwan behind the stumps as Abbas got his second wicket of the innings.
Hosein walked back for a-run-a-ball six, as the batting collapse continued. Usama rattled Amir’s (3, 6b) stumps to bring Quetta eight down in the 14th over, with only 99 runs on the board.
Abrar was caught behind for a two-ball duck as Multan inched closer to joining Peshawar Zalmi in the HBL PSL 9 qualifier. Usama picked up the final wicket as Quetta were bundled up for 106, the lowest total of HBL PSL 9.
Willey and Usama registered identical figures of three for 22 in four overs, while Abbas picked up two wickets. Ali also dismissed a batter.
Scores in brief:
Multan Sultans beat Quetta Gladiators by 79 runs
Multan Sultans 185-4, 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 69, Johnson Charles 53; Mohammad Amir 2-40)
Quetta Gladiators 106 all out, 15.5 overs (Omair bin Yousuf 37, Khawaja Nafay 16, Saud Shakeel 14; David Willey 3-22, Usama Mir 3-22, Abbas Afridi 2-14)
Player of the match – Mohammad Rizwan (Multan Sultans)

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