Moeen Ali and Shan Masood scored brisk half-centuries © AFP
Multan Sultans registered a comprehensive 52-run win over Karachi Kings after an all-round show at home on Friday (February 28). Put in to bat in the day’s afternoon game, Moeen Ali (65) and captain Shan Masood (61) spearheaded Multan’s progress with brisk half-centuries to give them a mighty total of 186, before their 40 year olds – Imran Tahir and Shahid Afridi – ran circles around the Karachi batsmen to bundle them out in 17 overs.
It was when Alex Hales was out there that the chase looked its most liveliest. And he was out there for only 21 balls. Regardless, the England batsman, coming in at No.3, powered the visitors to 55 at the end of the powerplay as he hit four fours and one six. But he was soon dismissed by Afridi who had him caught at point off a mistimed drive.
That dismissal paved the way for a collapse as Tahir (3/27) and Afridi (2/18) ran through the middle-order without great resistance. Karachi went from 66/2 to 120/8 before Sohail Tanvir wiped out the last remaining batsmen in one over.
If Karachi’s batsmen were clueless, Ali and Masood were anything but. Ali had his plans in place of how to pace his innings. He initially left the attacking responsibilities with opening partner Zeeshan Ashraf who got the team off to a quick start, before falling in the fifth over. After his dismissal, Ali took over the mantle of the aggressor and smashed a six in the very same over off Iftikhar Ahmed.
Ali would later hit a 6-4-6 combo off Ahmed to bring up his fifty, while also being severe against Imad Wasim, with the two spinners finding first hand why Ali is regarded to be one of England’s better players of spin.
When he was dismissed in the 12th over, Multan were 102/2 with Masood on 11 off 17 balls. But as was the case with Ali, Masood got going upon his set partner’s dismissal, cracking two fours in the next over. He relished the medium-pace of Cameron Delport off whom he struck five fours – including a hat-trick of them that got his past fifty. Chris Jordan and Mohammad Amir hit back in the last three overs, but by that time enough damage had been done, given what Karachi had in store with the bat.
Brief scores: Multan Sultans 186/6 in 20 overs (Moeen Ali 65, Shan Masood 61; Mohammad Amir 2/27, Chris Jordan 2/29) beat Karachi Kings 134 in 17 overs (Alex Hales 29; Imran Tahir 3/27, Shahid Afridi 2/18) by 52 runs.
Peshawar Zalmi batsmen packed a whole lot of fireworks in a reduced 12-over contest, and were later backed up by a match-winning spell of 4/25 by Lewis Gregory when Lahore Qalandars threatened to do the same.
With Chris Lynn going great guns in the chase of 133, having powered Lahore to 48/0 in four overs, Gregory came on and completely turned the tide with two wickets in his first over, including that of the Australian marauder. He did so by banging it in short into the pitch, as Lynn could only flat-bat the delivery down long-off’s throat. That, along with some change of pace thrown in, would become the formula that Gregory would adopt throughout his quota of overs, during which he also removed Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar and killed the game off, although Samit Patel did try his best with a valiant 34 towards the end.
Earlier, after the start had been delayed for close to two hours due to rain, Tom Banton came out like someone peeved at being made to wait that long. He smashed Shaheen Afridi back down the ground in the very first over and, through his 15-ball 34, went on to provide the flier the Zalmi were after. Haider Ali, who joined him in the third over, was even more belligerent, taking three balls fewer than Banton to score the same number of runs.
Dilbar Hussain helped Lahore pull things back towards the end with a four-fer. But he was only introduced after seven overs were done, at while point Peshawar had blazed away to 90/3. And as it proved, that little hiccup towards the end didn’t cost them much.
Brief scores: Peshawar Zalmi 132/7 in 12 overs (Haider Ali 34, Tom Banton 34; Dilbar Hussain 4/24) beat Lahore Qalandars 116/6 (Samit Patel 34, Chris Lynn 30; Lewis Gregory 4/25) by 16 runs.