LAHORE: Multan Sultans will play third straight HBL Pakistan Super League final on 19 March after they thrashed Lahore Qalandars by 84 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday night. Kieron Pollard’s late blitz propelled Multan Sultans to 160 for five before a sizzling opening spell from Sheldron Cottrell derailed the run chase. Lahore Qalandars’ poor show resulted in a paltry 76 all out – the lowest-ever HBL PSL total scored on Pakistani soil – in only 14.3 overs.
Pollard smashed six sixes in his 34-ball 57 and three of them came off the penultimate over, bowled by Lahore Qalandars captain Shaheen Afridi. The left-arm pacer conceded 20 in that over and it went down his most expensive in the HBL PSL history.
Pollard took on the attack at the start of the 17th over when he smoked Shaheen for a six and smashed Haris Rauf for a six and a four, his only in the innings, in the next.
Tim David smashed Zaman Khan for a six and a four in the 16th over to kick-start the onslaught after Lahore Qalandars had managed to keep Multan Sultans batters quiet throughout the innings.
Multan Sultans could muster 46 runs in the Powerplay and the introduction of Rashid Khan in the middle-overs further tightened the grip as they could score 51 in the next nine at the loss of three wickets. But over the last five overs, they added 63 to the total.
The first wicket fell in the eighth over as Usman Khan (29 off 28) chopped on a slower ball from Haris, who was bowling his first over of the innings. Rilee Rossouw’s forgettable outing came to an end at the start of the 11th over when he was caught of Zaman and two overs later Mohammad Rizwan’s stumps were rattled by a Rashid googly.
Only three Lahore Qalandars batters could post double-digit scores and none of them was from the top-order. Cottrell removed Mirza Tahir Baig and Abdullah Shafique in a span of three balls in the third over and Anwar Ali bowled a beautiful delivery that nipped back off the length to bowl Fakhar Zaman. Shaheen’s wild heave ended in Usman’s hands at point as Cottrell picked his third wicket in the fifth over and Lahore Qalandars slumped to 28 for four.
The 10th over began with Hussain Talat’s lazy stroll towards the striker’s end ending in run out and ended with Sikandar Raza getting caught at deep square-leg. At the halfway mark of the innings, Lahore Qalandars were six down for 44.
Sam Billings, the top run-getter with 19, was out in the next over off Ihsanullah and Usama Mir’s introduction resulted in the wickets of Rashid Khan (0) and David Wiese (12 off 12). Haris was the final wicket to fall when he was caught and bowled off Abbas Afridi.
Lahore Qalandars have another go at a berth in the final when they meet the winners of the first Eliminator between Islamabad Untied and Peshawar Zalmi on Friday.
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