In T20 cricket, centuries are not often surpassed, but on Wednesday night, Multan Sultans narrowly defeated Karachi Kings by three runs in what was the last HBL Pakistan Super League 8 match in Multan. The 11th game of the HBL PSL 8 will go down in history as one of the most epics thanks to the exploits of the two leaders.
The match was nearly decided in Multan Sultans’ favor when Imad Wasim’s thunderous 46 not out of 26 gave the Karachi Kings fan and dugout reason to believe until the very last ball. Mohammad Rizwan, the home team’s captain, had set Karachi Kings 197 to win with a magnificent century, his first of the HBL PSL and second overall. The game had swung like a pendulum, but the suspense and drama were at their highest in the last two overs.
Multan Sultans hold nerve in the Final Over
This is what happened. Imad and Ben Cutting destroyed Mohammad Ilyas for 18 when 40 were required. Imad blasted a huge six over the midwicket boundary with the first ball of the last over that should have been delivered by Abbas Afridi, who had been struck by the merciless onslaught of the Karachi Kings openers. Cutting smoked a 107-meter maximum after a wide and a single, which was then followed by another wide. Cutting holed out to long-off with six required off three balls.
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With five off one, Muhammad Irfan Khan, a young all-arounder, could only manage a single, which he achieved with a strong shot to the long-off. James Vince and Matthew Wade, the Karachi Kings’ opening combination, sprung into action right away in the run chase, propelling their team to 72 in the Powerplay. Usama Mir’s debut immediately paid off for Rizwan as the leg-spinner pinned Wade in front.
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When a bizarre mix-up between Vince and Haider Ali in the tenth over resulted in the former being run out, Multan Sultans were able to retake the lead. Vince was so effective that by the 9.5 over the mark, when he was run out, Vince scored 75 of his team’s 105 runs, blasting seven fours and six contemptuous sixes. The scoring pace was not maintained by Haider (12 off 17) or Shoaib Malik (13 off 19), and when the latter fell in the 17th over, Karachi Kings required 49 off 19.
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Ihsanullah, the season’s top wicket-taker, didn’t get a wicket, but he bowled masterfully, allowing only 17 runs on zero wickets off four overs. For 55, Abbas grabbed two wickets. Rizwan and Shan Masood broke the 50-run barrier in the Powerplay, resulting in a brilliant 85-run partnership from 10.2 overs, making Karachi Kings’ choice to field after winning the toss seem bad.
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The fielding was poor, and misfields turned into boundaries during the Powerplay’s opening phase, helping the duo. Rizwan had a memorable performance since it had taken him 42 balls to go beyond the 50-run threshold, but his brilliant strokeplay allowed him to score 100 from 50 in only 18 balls. Rilee Rossouw, who Multan Sultans had counted on to perform the role of the top-order aggressor, was overshadowed by Rizwan because of his dominance.
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The wicketkeeper-batter smashed 10 fours and four sixes in his 110 off 64 balls. Shan hit 51 off 33 (six fours and a six) after having trouble getting going in the previous four matches, while Rossouw made 29 off 21. Now, Multan Sultans have won seven out of the eight HBL PSL games they have played in Multan.
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Their lone defeat this year came in the season opener against Lahore Qalandars. They have eight points and are comfortably seated at the head of the table. With just one victory, against Lahore, their fiercest rivals, the Karachi Kings are now in fourth place after five games.
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