Quetta Gladiators 156 for 8 (Rossouw 27, Raja 22, Umar Gul 6-24) beat Multan Sultans 152 for 5 (Malik 65*, Maqsood 27) by two wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A thrilling contest got the finish it deserved, with teenager Hasan Khan smashing Kieron Pollard for six off the penultimate ball to sealing a much-needed two-wicket win for Quetta Gladiators. Multan Sultans had looked like they were slightly ahead for much of the Quetta’s 152 chase, only to pipped at the end. This came despite a superb vintage performance from Umar Gul, who took 6 for 24 in his first game this season.
Multan’s first innings total owed much to its skipper Shoaib Malik, who blazed an unbeaten 43-ball 65 after they had lost Kumar Sangakkara off the first ball. Quetta’s bowlers kept the batsmen in check for the first 15 overs, Mohammad Nawaz and Rahat Ali in particular hitting their targets to ensure there would be no repeat of the massive total Multan amassed against Peshawar on Tuesday. But 57 were scored off the last five as Quetta, much like Peshawar, lost their discipline and composure towards the death overs.
Quetta’s innings began on track before a quick double-strike by Gul removed both openers either side of the 50-run mark. The game remained evenly poised for much of the chase, but the early dismissal of an off-colour Kevin Pietersen was a huge blow for last year’s finalists. Cameos from Rilee Rossouw and Rameez Raja Jnr kept them in the hunt, with Anwar Ali, and at the very end Hasan, sealing the win in a massive heist.
Where the match was won
While the early loss of their openers meant Multan spent their Powerplay regrouping, Quetta’s opening pair gave them a fast start that kept them in touch with the asking rate for the best part of their chase. Shafiq and Watson put on 46 without loss for the first Powerplay, the most runs Multan have conceded in the first six so far. They may have lost both of them soon after, but the start meant they had a margin for error, and by the time the lower middle order began to regroup, the asking rate wasn’t yet insurmountable. That was in stark contrast to Multan’s first six. They were reduced to 3 for 2 by the end of the first two overs, and sent in Sohail Tanvir to try and up the ante. That didn’t quite work either, and they ended up with 35 by the time the fielding restrictions were lifted. In a close contest, those 11 runs made all the difference.
The men that won it
Not many people get the chance to bookend a game like Hasan did. He took a catch to remove Sangakkara first ball at short midwicket. Nearly 40 overs later, he smashed Pollard for six off the penultimate delivery to seal a framatic win. He didn’t have a great deal to do in the middle, but was stellar when called upon, conceding just nine runs in the two overs of left-arm spin he bowled. With the bat, he didn’t even breach double figures, but his nine runs off three balls is guaranteed to be a more famous innings than the 65 Malik smashed earlier on.
Vintage Umar Gul
Gul rolled back the years with a scintillating performance, becoming only the second player in PSL history – after Ravi Bopara – to take six wickets in a match. It began with the removal of the openers, and he returned to remove opposition captain Sarfraz with the first ball of his second spell, swinging the game back in his side’s favour. By the end of three overs, his figures read a mightily impressive 3-0-11-4. His last over was the definition of a mixed bag, as the two sixes he conceded brought Quetta right back into the game, although the two wickets he took – taking his tally to six and his overall T20 tally to 200 wickets – seemed to have edged Multan back ahead. You’re unlikely to see a better bowling performance end up on the losing side all season.
Where they stand
Multan are still at the top of the table with nine points, but second-placed Karachi have two games in hand. Quetta, meanwhile, go from 5th to 4th, having won three of six games.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
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