Multan Sultans 124 for 4 (Rossouw 49*, Shah 43*, Riaz 2-36) beat Peshawar Zalmi 123 (Ali 47, Tanvir 4-13, Ilyas 2-23) by six wickets
How the game played out
Shan Masood’s men gave the home fans a night to remember on PSL 2020’s debut evening in Multan as a rip-roaring bowling performance set up a simple chase iced by Rilee Rossouw’s unbeaten 49 in a six-wicket win against Peshawar Zalmi.
Mohammad Irfan had Tom Banton dropped at slip by James Vince on the first ball of the match, but it was just about the only misstep on the night by Multan in the field. Banton fell five balls later driving Irfan to Shahid Afridi at extra cover and the Multan pacers continued to rip through the Peshawar line-up, aided by Sohail Tanvir’s four-wicket haul, to eventually bowl out the visitors for just 123 in 18.3 overs.
In a deja vu moment, Darren Sammy dropped the first ball of the Multan chase at slip when James Vince edged a drive off Hasan Ali, only for the bowler to have Vince caught at mid-on by the end of the over. Whereas Peshawar were 41 for 4 at one stage, Multan slipped to a near-identical 47 for 4 in the seventh over when Zeeshan Ashraf cut Wahab Riaz to Banton at backward point.
But that was where the similarities between the two innings ceased. Rossouw got Multan back on track before he was slowed down with a hip injury after getting pinged by Wahab to end the 12th over. He was then dropped in the 14th on 46 by Livingstone at deep cover off Mohammad Amir Khan, the last sniff Peshawar had of an unlikely fightback.
From there, Khushdil Shah helped send the Multan fans home with happy hearts by smashing a no-ball by Amir Khan through mid-off for four before clubbing a slower ball on the free hit 20 yards over the long-on rope for six to end the 14th. Another six yanked flat over square leg off Wahab in the 15th by Khushdil put Multan one stroke away from victory. It was sealed with a single down the ground by Rossouw, clinching a mostly one-sided contest.
Superficially, the scorecard might point to Peshawar’s top-scorer Haider Ali heaving Tanvir to Vince on 47 for the fifth wicket to break a 44-run stand with Liam Dawson. But in terms of impact and energy on the field, it had to be the double-strike by Mohammad Ilyas in the sixth over after Peshawar had been sent in to bat.
At 41 for 2 in five overs, the powerplay honors were about even before Ilyas decimated Peshawar with two wickets in the space of three balls to identical back-of-a length deliveries edged behind. Shoaib Malik played slightly away from his body to the first to fall for 2, and then Liam Livingstone was completely squared up by one angled into the off-stump line and had no choice but to fend at it for a second-ball duck. At 41 for 4, the Powerplay was decisively won by Multan.
Star of the day
Tanvir got the big wickets beginning with Kamran Akmal. Coming off a century in his last match, Akmal was looking ominous early once again with three fours. But hubris got the best of Akmal, who charged at Tanvir only to miscue a full ball to Vince at midwicket for 15 in the fourth over.
The left-arm quick struck again in the 11th, having Haider caught at deep midwicket. Haider had played an identical stroke hammering Ilyas over the region for six just moments earlier but could not achieve the same against Tanvir. After the spinners worked through the rest of the middle order, Tanvir came back to claim Hasan Ali and No.11 Rahat Ali.
The big miss
Rossouw was actually dropped twice. The latter came on 46 at deep cover but a far more costly chance came off Rahat’s bowling in the sixth over when Rossouw was on 15. The South African checked a drive that resulted in a low chance floating back to the tall Rahat at ankle height. He was able to crouch out and get two hands to it but couldn’t clasp on completely. It opened the door for Rossouw to form a 77-run stand with Khushdil to see Multan across the line.
Where the teams stand
Multan are now in first place, level with Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators on four points but way ahead of the other two on net run-rate. Peshawar are equal with Karachi Kings on two points but technically in fifth place way behind Kings on net run-rate.