Babar Azam celebrates with teammate Nabi (R) and shakes hands with Multan Sultans' Shahnawaz Dhani (C) at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Karachi Kings put on a dominant display with the bat, on the back of Babar Azam’s excellence, to crush the Multan Sultans side with a seven-wicket victory with seven balls remaining after the latter had posted a mammoth total of 195 runs in the first innings.
Chasing the massive total, Karachi Kings were off to a flying start as opener Sharjeel Khan scored a quickfire 27-run knock off just 14 balls to get the chase underway.
Babar’s unbeaten 90 off 60 balls — including 13 fours and a six — led Karachi to 198-3 with seven balls to spare in yet another successful chase in Pakistan’s premier Twenty20 league.
Babar Azam raises bat to celebrates after scoring fifty during a PSL match against Multan. AP
All nine league matches in this season’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) have been won by the teams chasing, including four successful chases of 190-plus runs.
Multan Sultans had earlier spoiled a blistering start and were restricted to 195-6 as Karachi skipper Imad Wasim followed a familiar script of captains putting the opposition into bat after winning the toss.
"Credit goes to the bowlers first,” Wasim said. "The way we finished at the end was fantastic. We saved almost 15-20 runs at the death.”
Englishman Joe Clarke (54 off 26 balls) took the game away from Multan by combining in an electrifying stand of 97 runs with Babar.
Clarke smashed four sixes against spinners Shahid Afridi and Khushdil Shah and also hit three boundaries in his robust half century before he was caught at short fine leg while attempting to ramp a slow bouncer from Shanawaz Dhani (2-28).
Babar led Karachi to its second win in three games with a six and two fours in succession against fast bowler Sohail Khan in the penultimate over.
Earlier, Multan failed to cash in on Chris Lynn’s robust start (32 off 14 balls) and were cruising along at 72-1 in the first six overs of batting powerplay.
James Vince (45) and skipper Mohammad Rizwan (43) both fell in successive overs of fast bowler Arshad Iqbal (2-36) as Multan slipped to 133-3 in the 14th over.
Karachi came back strongly in the last five overs with their fast bowlers leaking only one boundary. Left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who earlier started with a maiden over, bowled seven wide balls in his next three overs but got the dangerman Shahid Afridi (3) in the 19th over to finish with 1-34.
After its third loss, Multan slipped to fifth in six-team event with a solitary win against Lahore Qalandars, who are due to meet Islamabad United in Saturday’s other league match.
Babar made an unbeaten 77 and Nabi scored 67 off 35 balls as they shared a 118-run fourth-wicket stand off 61 balls in Karachi’s strong chase of 191-4 in 19.3 overs. Earlier, after being put in to bat, Peshawar recovered from 3-34 to reach 188-5 with Ravi Bopara scoring an unbeaten 58 and Amad Butt making a rapid 27 off only seven deliveries.
The selectors have included three exciting uncapped pace bowlers in 19-year-old Mohammad Wasim Junior, 20-year-old Arshad Iqbal, and 22-year-old Shahnawaz Dhani in multiple squads. Ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah will miss the tour as he is recovering from a knee injury.
"The universe boss is here in Pakistan alright," he said in a video message released by the team. "All my Pakistan fans, I am looking forward to entertaining you... so stay tuned."
The Multan Sultans cruised to victory courtesy Mohammad Rizwan and Sohaib Maqsood's flashy 110-run, third wicket partnership. Earlier, Lahore Qalandars had set a target of 158 for the Multan Sultans courtesy Mohammad Hafeez's 60 off 30 balls.
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