Multan Sultans 183 for 5 (Masood 73, Charles 47, Khurram 2-26) beat Quetta Gladiators 73 (Weatherald 19, Tahir 3-7, Imran 2-13) by 110 runs
A fluent half-century from Shan Masood, who hit 73, and a fantastic bowling and fielding display spearheaded by Imran Tahir, who grabbed 3 for 7, took the Multan Sultans to a thumping 110-run victory, knocking the Quetta Gladiators out of contention for the PSL playoffs. This is also the biggest margin of victory by runs in the league's history; in fact, the Sultans overwrote the previous record by 39 runs.
Put into bat by Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Sultans' innings owed their early impetus to Masood, as he helped bring up 50 off six overs. There weren't a lot of dot balls, with Mohammad Rizwan happy to work the ball around, as Masood found the boundaries with ridiculous ease. Standing tall, he peppered the arc between midwicket and covers at will, with the pick of the shots a firm on drive to a length ball from Usman Shinwari. Masood looked even more dangerous after the powerplay, smacking Mohammad Nawaz for six over midwicket before going straight down the ground for another maximum off the very next ball, en route to 50 off 26 deliveries.
An all-too-brief fightback by the Gladiators
The introduction of Khurram Shahzad brought the Gladiators some hope, with Rizwan chopping him on to his off stump to start the ninth over, thus ending a 72-run association for the first wicket. Zahir Khan gave his team another lift by getting Sohaib Maqsood to miss one that turned into him to tickle the top of off, leaving the Sultans at 88 for 2 at the halfway mark.
Johnson Charles started briskly, using the pace of Shinwari to guide him past third man for four early on, and this gave some breathing space to a tiring Masood. However, before holing out to long-on in the 14th over delivered by Hassan Khan, Masood would repeat the loft over long-off and smash over midwicket for six on the way to posting his highest PSL score in the process.
The Sultans were left with an opening to surge on to a massive score, but Rilee Rossouw then skipped down the wicket to Hassan and top-edged an intended lofted drive towards square leg, where Usman Khan came running in from the deep to take a diving catch. Zahir then spun a web around Khushdil Shah, zipping googlies and conventional legspinners across him, while also inducing an edge for a sharp chance that Ahmed failed to latch on to in a 16th over that fetched the Sultans just one run off the bat.
The final push and a sign of things to come
The Sultans ended up pillaging 49 off the last four overs, which really should have been contained had Hassan held on to a Charles flick off Shahzad that went through his fingers and hit the midwicket boundary skirting on the full when he was on 23. Charles eventually fell to Shahzad for 47, but by then having clubbed Mohammad Hasnain for four down the ground and whipping him over midwicket for six. Post that, some hefty blows from Khushdil Shah saw the Sultans through to 183.
Ahmed had inserted the opposition hoping for some dew, but there didn't appear any when the Gladiators began their chase. Jake Weatherald struck some meaty blows early on, picking up two slower balls from Sohail Tanvir, depositing the first over wide long-on before swinging the next down to fine leg for four. He welcomed Imran Khan with a gorgeous lofted extra cover drive for six, but at 27 without loss one ball into the fourth over, that was about as good as the evening could get for the Gladiators.
Crash! Boom! Bang!
Imran got a sharp length ball to take Weatherald's edge through to Rizwan, and two balls later, Cameron Delport skipped down the wicket and popped a slower ball to mid-off. Usman was run-out in comic fashion, having overrun a quick single after Ahmed tapped a ball to point, and thus not responding to his captain's call for an overthrow in good time. At the end of the powerplay, the Gladiators were going at a run a ball, but had consumed 21 dot deliveries and three precious wickets in the process.
Azam Khan then fell to a lazy waft off Blessing Muzarabani to leave the Gladiators at 46 for 4. They then lost four more wickets for just 13 runs, with Rizwan afforded the luxury of bringing on Tahir after nine overs. His first ball produced the wicket of Nawaz, who had batted competently for 10, run-out through a Tahir deflection at the non-striker's end. Tahir then mesmerised the lower order, pinging Shinwari and Shahzad leg before after having induced a false shot from Hassan.
Fittingly, the last wicket fell to Shahnawaz Dhani, who joined Wahab Riaz at the top of the wickets tally with 14. While the Gladiators are on their way out, Wednesday's result might also have severely dented the hopes of the Karachi Kings following the significant boost to the Sultans' net run rate.