Kings Knock Out Sultans
In what has been a fairly evenly contested PSL tournament, there was one team that stood out, if that is the best way to put it. Multan Sultans stood out as being not quite at the same level as the others, and on a day they needed a big performance to stay alive, they put in one that merely drove the point further home. Becoming just the second team in PSL history to fail to hit a six across a completed innings, they limped to 118, never able to get the innings on track for anything close to a par score. That one pace bowler and one spinner from Karachi put in their best bowling efforts all season didn’t help Multan’s cause either. Usman Shinwari and Umer Khan’s combined figures read 8-0-37-3.
Usman Shinwari wasn’t going to play today until Mohammad Amir was forced out of the team after his mother was taken ill. But such is the strength in depth Pakistan enjoy in this department Shinwari came put in a display that made you wonder why he wasn’t the first name on the team sheet. Cranking up the pace, bowling everalmost every ball close to 145kph, he wreaked havoc at the top of the Multan order, knocking back the stumps of Umar Siddiq and Johnson Charles. He wasn’t done, though, and returned to take another couple with the final two balls of his spell at the death, this time spelling the end for Hammad Azam and Mohammad Irfan. His 4-14 meant he makes a strong case for a place on the team sheet, no matter who is available for the remainder of the tournament.
As in several low-scoring games, this one became a bit of a nervy scrap towards the end, particularly after Mohammad Abbas bowled a spotless double-wicket maiden to dislodge Colin Ingram and Iftikhar Ahmed. Until then, the chase had been a stroll, Liam Livingstone and Colin Ingram’s 46-run partnership getting Karachi close. But with new life breathed into Multan, Shoaib Malik’s men conjured up discipline they have lacked in the field for much of the tournament, making life as difficult as possible for Karachi. Imad Wasim’s men didn’t help themselves either, almost forgetting about the strike rotation in a frenzy to get the job done.
Multan won that passage of play, even taking the match to the final over. But the lacklustre display up to that point had done too much damage to afford them a final stay of execution in the tournament. Livingstone brought up his fifty, and the Karachi win, with a six over deep midwicket with four balls to go, ensuring the one game Multan play in Pakistan will have little tournament relevance to them.