PSL 2019

Livingstone, Babar, defeat Multan despite Shoaib heroics

A superb 157-run opening partnership, the highest in the history of the PSL, between Babar Azam and Liam Livingstone powered Karachi Kings to 183. Multan Sultans couldn’t nearly match the opening start, struggling for runs at the top of the order, and compiling just 59 runs in their first ten. That left them with 125 to get in the second half of the innings, and even as they mounted a remarkable comeback – spearheaded by their captain Shoaib Malik – they had left themselves with too much to do in the end, falling short by seven runs.

Multan will rue the start they allowed Karachi to get off to, and reflect on the sharp contrast with which they played their own first ten. After a tight first three overs, Livingstone and Babar began to cut loose, with none of the 7 bowlers Multan tried able to take a wicket or so much as stem the avalanche of boundaries. The pair took the run rate up a notch even as the Powerplay ended, with 67 runs coming off overs 7-13 as Karachi looked like they would post a total in excess of 200.

Multan will take heart by the ability of their bowlers to come back once that colossal partnership was broken, even if it had done the damage by that stage. When, with the score on 157, Livingstone holed out at cow corner off Chris Green, Multan picked up six wickets for 21 runs, allowing Karachi to score at no more than a run a ball from that point onwards. Green, with his third PSL franchise but playing his first match in the competition, took three wickets by the end as Multan wrested back some of the momentum they had lost early on.

But if they hoped they would carry it through in the early stages of the chase, they would be disappointed. A superb opening spell from Karachi captain Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir saw the early dismissal of Tom Moores. Shan Masood, too, was never able to get a move on and holed out trying to keep up with the asking rate, and the innings began to peter out.

It wasn’t until the game appeared to be drifting towards a heavy defeat for Multan that their captain Shoaib Malik demonstrated the threat the PSL’s newest franchise poses. The game came roaring back to life when he carted Ravi Bopara for 24 runs in an over, but it was a measure of how far behind they were they still needed almost two runs a ball. As they desperately tried to cling on to hope, they inevitably lost wickets along the way. Shahid Afridi and Andre Russell played cameos to bring them close, but there was simply too much ground to make up on. Multan can take heart, if not two points, from this performance.