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Multan Sultans 182 for 7 (Masood 68, David 34, Wahab 2-34) beat Peshawar Zalmi 140 (Malik 44, Muzarabani 3-18, Khushdil 3-25) by 42 runs
New city, same old result. The PSL may have shifted to Lahore from Karachi, but it made little difference to the relentless Multan Sultans who made light work of Peshawar Zalmi, brushing them aside by 42 runs. It was set up by a luxuriant 49-ball 68 from Shan Masood, whose 98-run opening stand with Mohammad Rizwan set the platform for Sultans to set a target of 183.
Then their bowlers, spearheaded by Blessing Muzarabani, got rid of the openers early before the others applied the squeeze. As the asking rate rose and the wickets began to fall, the wheels quickly fell of Wahab Riaz's side, and they succumbed for 140.
Zalmi had won the toss and inserted Sultans in, and for the first half of the innings, seemed to have a handle on the game. Rizwan wasn't his usual bustling self at the start, happy to play second fiddle to Masood, whose sensational form this PSL shows no signs of abating. Six fours in his first 14 balls, including three successive boundaries off Mohammad Umar in the fourth over, got Sultans off to a speedy start, thus more than making up for Rizwan's sluggishness.
With Rizwan scoring just 18 in his first 26 balls, it felt as if Sultans were leaving runs out there, but with Tim David and Khushdil Shah to follow, their ability to post a daunting total remained largely undiluted. David was lightning-quick out of the blocks, smashing 33 off his first 14 deliveries - he eventually finished with 34 from 18 - including two monstrous consecutive sixes off Saqib Mahmood. Alongside a cameo by Rilee Rossouw, it powered the defending champions to 182.
Sultans continue to give the impression of every game having a new hero, as Thursday's brightest star came from Zimbabwe. Muzarabani got into Zalmi in the second over of the chase, removing both Kamran Akmal and Haider Ali in the space of four balls. Akmal's dismissal came thanks to a spectacular catch by Shahnawaz Dahani, who knocked a diving Rizwan out of his way to hold on, before Haider chopped one on to his stumps.
It seemed as if Zalmi were playing catch-up from that point on, though Sultans were guilty of allowing them back into the game with a couple of dropped catches. Abbas Afridi put Liam Livingstone down at mid-off in what could easily have been the game's turning point, as a giant six by the Englishman over mid-on next ball showed.
But no one from Zalmi could really hang in and play the sort of innings Masood had. Afridi made amends for dropping him by getting rid of him a few overs later, something which dried the runs up for Sultans. The next 16 balls saw just ten runs scored, and that pressure brought about the end of Hussain Talat.
Muzarabani returned to have Sherfane Rutherford caught on the off side, and Shoaib Malik's 31-ball 44 came to an end when he finally holed out to cow corner off Imran Tahir's bowling.
By then, the asking rate was well over 13, and Ben Cutting was once more left in an impossible position, just as he had against the same opposition a few days earlier in Karachi. He did what he had done then, giving poor Dahani another pasting, but as on that day, the best he could hope for was an improvement in his personal statistics.
Khushdil did for him thanks to a smart catch from David, before a stunning diving grab from Khushdil himself off his own bowling put paid to the Zalmi innings altogether. It was an apt way to finish a game, the individual brilliance topping up what had been a brilliant team performance.
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