Multan Sultans cause huge upset to defeat Peshawar Zalmi
DUBAI (92 News) – Pakistan Super League (PSL) newcomers Multan Sultans caused a big upset on the opening night of the tournament after they defeated last year’s winners Peshawar Zalmi by seven wickets in Dubai.
Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, who at 40 still looks as evergreen as ever, led the Sultans along with captain Shoaib Malik as the first-timer franchise chased down 152 successfully under the lights at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
For Peshawar, the third-place side in 2016 and champions in 2017, the favorites will be disappointed to have let a match within their grasp run away from them.
Earlier, after winning the toss, the Sultans opted to bowl on what looked like a green seamer top with action getting underway just after 9pm.
Giant quick Mohammad Irfan was the outstanding bowler, blowing away the Zalmi top order of Tamim Iqbal and Kamran Akmal before veteran Mohammad Hafeez steadied the ship.
The 37-year-old Hafeez batted within himself to top-score and anchor the innings with a 52-ball 59, forming a 35-run partnership with Dwayne Smith (24) and then a fourth-wicket stand worth 44 alongside Haris Sohail (14).
Neither of those were defining, though, and it took the introduction of the captain Darren Sammy to the crease to alter the momentum. After Sohail exited, he put on 31 in a crucial pairing with Hafeez.
The West Indian hit back-to-back sixes at the end of the 18th over and then smashed another 10 runs in the 19th for a rapid 29 off just 11 balls.
It seemed as though commentators considered 151-6 to be a good enough total but the Sultans had other ideas.
Sangakkara played terrifically well at the top, bludgeoning a crisp 57 from 51 balls in a knock which included two sixes and a consistent strike-rate of 111.76.
He forged two well-supported stands with Sohaib Maqsood (21), worth 47, and then skipper Malik in a 52-run partnership.
At the end of the 14th over, the Sultans were beginning to get close to the required eight run an over rate for the first time in the chase, but then came Sangakkara’s demise. Wahab Riaz built pressure with a couple of dot (and short balls) before pitching one on a length in which the Sri Lankan edged through to Akmal.
But, that brought Kieron Pollard (21*) to the crease and he and Malik guided the chasers into a good position, leaving the Sultans with just 15 runs to knock off from the final two overs and seven wickets in hand.
Despite some decent death bowling, again from Riaz, he ran out of overs and Malik slogged Hammad Azam to the fence to secure victory at 152-3.
Meanwhile, two matches will be played today. In the first match, Karachi Kings will take on Quetta Gladiators while in the second match Multan Sultans will play against Lahore Qalandars.