It took 14 matches to see a team winning, defending a total in this edition of the Pakistan Super League. Quetta Gladiators broke their losing streak of four games to defeat Multan Sultans by 22 runs.
Chasing a daunting target of 177, Multan Sultans were off to a brisk start. Openers Mohammad Rizwan and James Vince gave the perfect platform as they added 63-runs for the first wicket. It felt like the trend of unsuccessful defences would continue as the Sultans appeared on track for an easy victory.
Spinner Qais Ahmed change the whole complexion of the game in his spell. In his first over, he removed James Vince, caught behind by wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, after scoring 24 runs off 21 balls. Multan Sultans’ former captain Shan Masood, playing his first game was also trapped in front of stumps by Qais Ahmed.
The spinner then removed hard-hitting batsman Rille Rossouw as the momentum shifted towards the Gladiators. All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz got rid of Sohaib Maqsood. Khushdil Shah got a start but was unable to carry and went after scoring just 19 Carlos Brathwaite fell next caught by fielder Ben Cutting off the bowling of Mohammad Hasnain, as the Gladiators tightened their grip on the match.
As the pressure of the required-rate mounted, Mohammad Rizwan was the last hope for the Multan Sultans’ side. The wicketkeeper-batsman finally holed out to fielder Mohammad Hasnain off the bowling of leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood after scoring 66 runs off 50 balls. Qais Ahmed took three wickets for his side while Zahid Mahmood and Mohammad Hasnain picked up two wickets each.
Put in to bat first, Usman kicked off with a nine-run over and launched a flurry of boundaries to take the Gladiators to 55 without loss in the powerplay. He dominated the 69-run opening stand with Sain Ayub, who himself hit a couple of boundaries and a six in his 18-ball 23. Usman again dominated his 53-run partnership with Faf du Plessis (17), falling just 19 short of a hundred in the 14th over.
Imran Tahir finally got the better of Saim Ayub. The left-hander he scored 23 runs off 18. Meanwhile, Usman Khan continued his solid start on the way to an impressive 81-run knock of 50 balls with the help of 10 fours and 3 maximums.
Sohail Khan dismissed Faf Du Plessis. Sarfaraz was cleaned up by Imran Khan soon and it felt like Quetta have let the initiative go. Azam Khan was the next victim as young Shah Nawaz Dahani trapped him in front of stumps on 17.
All-rounder Mohammad Nawaz played quickfire innings and scored 20 runs. He got out on the last ball of the innings but helped his side post a competitive score on the board.