Usman Khan puts Sultans in playoffs

By our correspondent
KARACHI: Multan Sultans have become the first team to qualify for the playoffs of HBL PSL 9 after they defeated Karachi Kings at National Bank Stadium, Karachi on Sunday night. After scoring 189-3 in the first innings, Multan restricted Karachi to 169-7 to win the game by 20 runs.

Karachi Kings’ right-arm fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani drew first blood in only the second over as Reeza Hendricks (13, 8b, 3x4s) holed one straight to Mir Hamza at deep third, as Sultans chose to bat first after winning the toss

Mohammad Rizwan and Usman Khan stitched a mammoth second-wicket partnership, yielding an impressive 148 runs, to take Multan to a comfortable position after the earlier setback.

After joining Rizwan at the crease in the second over, Usman took on Muzarabani and Mohammad Nawaz in the powerplay to help the side breach the 50-run mark in six overs.

In the last five overs of the innings, Multan added 51 runs to the total, while in the 15th over they racked up 20 runs on the back of two sixes and a boundary. In the meanwhile, Rizwan brought up his 63rd T20 half-century after hitting two boundaries in the over.

On the first ball of the 18th over, Muzarabani dismissed Rizwan (58, 44b, 5x4s), bringing the game-changing partnership to an end.

The next batter in, Iftikhar Ahmed, could only manage a-run-a-ball four before he was caught by Muhammad Irfan Khan off Hasan Ali’s bowling in the penultimate over.

In the last over, Usman brought up his second HBL PSL career century with a maximum, helping Multan finish with a good total. The right-arm batter smashed an unbeaten 106 on 59 deliveries, including an impressive tally of 10 boundaries and five maximums. For his knock, Usman was also adjudged player of the match.

Hasan had one wicket while Muzarabani had two to his name.

In return, Karachi Kings’s opening batter Tim Seifert (1, 4b) was run out in the second over of the innings while chasing a target of 190.

James Vince, batting at number three, made just seven off four before he edged one to the wicketkeeper off Chris Jordan, who was on his debut for Multan Sultans. At the end of the powerplay, Karachi stood at 53-2.

Khushdil Shah and Usama Mir bowled in tandem following the field restrictionsto break the 47-run third-wicket partnership between Shan Masood and Shoaib Malik. The former fell to Usama on the final ball of the ninth over after scoring 36 on 29, including five boundaries. In the 12th over, Shoaib (38, 28b, 5x4s) holed one to Jordan at long-on off Khushdil’s bowling.

In the following over, Leus du Plooy (12, 11b) was caught at cover to award Usama his second wicket of the day. Nawaz then joined Irfan in the middle with the Kings requiring 91 off the last seven overs.

Irfan took on Faisal Akram in the 14th over, hitting two boundaries and a six. David Willey broke the 25-run stand between Nawaz and Irfan as the latter was caught behind on 23 off 19, including two fours and a six.

Hasan joined Nawaz (27 not out, 17b, 3x4s, 1×6) on the crease to produce a partnership of 41 runs, which was broken in the last over by Mohammad Ali as Hasan (17, 8b, 1×4, 1×6) was caught by Tayyab Tahir, while the duo failed to keep up with the asking rate.

Karachi could only manage 169-7 in the allotted 20 overs, losing the game by 20 overs.

Usama picked up two wickets, while Ali, Khushdil, Willey and Jordan removed a batter each.

Scores in brief:

Multan Sultans beat Karachi Kings by 20 runs

Multan Sultans 189-3, 20 overs (Usman Khan 106 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 58; Blessing Muzarabani 2-32)

Karachi Kings 169-7, 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 38, Shan Masood 36, Mohammad Nawaz 27 not out; Usama Mir 2-29)

Player of the match – Usman Khan (Multan Sultans

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