Sultans beat Qalandars to earn the fifth spot on the points table.
In the worst performance of the season so far – remember, they were shot out for 77 just weeks ago – Lahore found themselves pulverised in a dead rubber where neither side seemingly had anything to lose. Having stumbled to a below par 140, a shocker of a bowling performance allowed Multan to gun it down in a mere 12.3 overs, concluding their fourth successive campaign propping up the PSL table.
Fakhar Zaman declared somewhat confidently at the toss he didn’t mind losing it because he would have batted first anyway. One can’t help wonder why. The Lahore captain may have been talking about himself – he did manage a respectable 36-ball 53, but there was no one else in the Lahore dugout who looked particularly capable of exploiting the short boundaries at the National Stadium in Karachi. It didn’t help that Mohammad Abbas was at his infuriatingly consistent best, while Shahid Afridi, playing his first ever PSL match in Pakistan, was the most economical, taking two wickets and conceding just 18 in his four.
In the first two matches since the PSL returned to Pakistan, it appeared Karachi wasn’t the best place for bowlers to bolster their economy rates. But Multan’s bowlers put together a real team performance, complementing each other and systematically putting the pressure on the batsmen. Mohammad Abbas’s waning form had been the subject of much attention of late, but the last two matches suggest he may be regaining his powers steadily. Chris Green was regularly in and out of the team, but he got the ball rolling with a beautiful delivery that tickled the leg stump bail of Riki Wessels, while Shahid Afridi showed he still had something to offer with the ball. Combined, those three bowlers figures read 12-0-65-6, and with numbers like those, even a slightly more expensive Junaid Khan and Mohammad Ilyas didn’t hurt Multan too much.
Maybe the surface was slightly less propitious for batting than the ones the previous two games were played on? Explain Multan Sultans innings, then. The carnage they inflicted on the hapless Lahore was stunning in its brutality; Shoaib Malik’s men, remember, had only beaten one side in the whole tournament until today. A pair of sixes in the second over from Umar Siddiq set the tone, but in truth no Multan batsman allowed Lahore any relief. Shan Masood’s 24-ball 48 broke the back of an already nearly spineless target, while Johnson Charles and James Vince helped Multan bring up their 100 in the eighth over. It was every bit the cakewalk matches against Lahore have tended to be too often. It might have been a dead rubber, but Multan didn’t seem to mind flogging Lahore’s dead horse anyway.