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Quetta Gladiators crash out of playoff race as Multan Sultans march on

KARACHI: Quetta Gladiators’ miserable campaign in the HBL Pakistan Super League ended on Wednesday in an ignominious exit from the playoff race for the second straight season when the former champions crashed to a record 110-run defeat against Multan Sultans at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Needing a victory to keep themselves alive in the competition, Quetta were blown away for 73 in a matter of just 12.1 overs by the ruthlessness of Multan’s brilliant all-round game in a matter of just 12.1 overs. This was their lowest-ever total in the PSL, surpassing the 90 they mustered against Peshawar Zalmi in the 2017 final at Lahore.

Wednesday’s defeat was Quetta’s seventh loss in nine fixtures.

The margin of victory was the largest by runs in PSL history, improving on Islamabad United’s 71-run defeat of Lahore Qalandars at Lahore last year.

The Gladiators’ capitulation was always on the cards once openers Jake Weatherald and Usman Khan failed to begin the 184-run chase with a big partnership.

In fact, the highest stand of the innings was for that first wicket before the innings disintegrated with any trace of a fightback. A couple of run-outs haunted Sarfaraz Ahmed’s charges and the nadir came when the 2019 title winners lost four wickets for no run in the space of five balls.

Pakistan-born South African leg spinner Imran Tahir came perilously close to taking a hat-trick. At one point, he had claimed three wickets without conceding a run before ending up with 3-7 in three overs after seamer Imran Khan took two wickets in his opening over to put the match beyond Quetta’s reach.

In contrast to Quetta’s misery, Multan are very much in serious contention for the next phase. They piled up more pressure on Karachi Kings after leapfrogging over the defending champions into fourth place on the table with their fourth win in nine games.

Karachi, who still have a game in hand, must now beat Quetta on Thursday to stay in the running.

After Shan Masood, who was adjudged Player of the Match, had excelled with a belligerent half century to help his team amass 183-5, there was no looking back for Mohammad Rizwan’s men in the second half.

The left-handed Shan’s 73 from 42 balls (seven fours and four sixes) was the driving force behind Multan’s excellent effort with the bat. The innings also featured a quickfire 47 by Johnson Charles.

Shan was the dominant partner in the splendid partnership of 72 in 49 deliveries with fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan. The captain’s contribution was a 23-ball 21.

Quetta, who had decided to bowl first after winning the toss, had no answer against Shan in the Powerplay phase as Multan reached 50-0.

Not renowned for explosive hitting, the tall batter nevertheless raced to 50 from just 26 balls and took toll of loose bowling, particularly from Mohammad Hasnain (0-45 in four overs).

Spinners Mohammad Nawaz and Zahir Khan both bowled well, though they conceded plenty of runs in their initial overs. But it was left to emerging pacer Khurram Shehzad to make the first breakthrough when Rizwan’s attempt to glide his first delivery behind point, but only managed to edge the ball onto his off stump.

Zahir, an unorthodox slow left-armer from Afghanistan, then bamboozled Sohaib Maqsood for five. Multan, however, recovered partially with the arrival of West Indies right-hander Charles.

 

Shan greeted Hassaan Khan by hoisting consecutive sixes off his first two balls. But the slow left-armer exacted sweet revenge in the same over when Shan miscued another big strike but only found Mohammad Hasnain in the deep.

Khurram was the pick of Quetta bowling with 2-26, including the key wicket of Charles, who blasted two sixes during his 24-ball knock.

Scoreboard

MULTAN SULTANS:
Shan Masood c Hasnain b Hassaan 73
Mohammad Rizwan b Khurram 21
Sohaib Maqsood b Zahir 4
J. Charles b Khurram 47
R.R. Rossouw c Usman Khan b Nawaz 3
Khushdil Shah not out 20
Sohail Tanvir not out 2

EXTRAS: (LB-5, W-8) 13
TOTAL: (for five wkts, 20 overs) 183
FALL OF WKTS: 1-72 (Rizwan), 2-88 (Sohaib), 3-125 (Shan), 4-129 (Rossouw), 5-171 (Charles).
DID NOT BAT: B. Muzarabani, Shahnawaz Dhani, Imran Khan, Imran Tahir.
BOWLING: Usman Khan Shinwari 4-0-35-0 (1w); Mohammad Nawaz 3-0-32-1; Mohammad Hasnain 4-0-45-0 (1w); Zahir Khan 4-0-25-1 (2w); Khurram Shehzad 4-0-26-2; Hassaan Khan 1-0-16-1.

QUETTA GLADIATORS:
J. Weatherald c Rizwan b Imran Khan 19
Usman Khan run out 12
C.S. Delport c Sohail b Imran Khan 0
Sarfaraz Ahmed c Imran Tahir b Sohail 13
Azam Khan c Rizwan b Muzarabani 2
Mohammad Nawaz run out 10
Hassaan Khan c Rossouw b Imran Tahir 0
Usman Khan Shinwari lbw b Imran Tahir 7
Khurram Shehzad lbw b Imran Tahir 0
Mohammad Hasnain not out 1
Zahir Khan c Sohaib b Dhani 6

EXTRAS: (LB-2, W-1) 3
TOTAL: (all out, 12.1 overs) 73
FALL OF WKTS: 1-27 (Weatherald), 2-27 (Delport), 3-35 (Usman Khan), 4-46 (Azam), 5-59 (Sarfaraz), 6-59 (Nawaz), 7-59 (Hassaan), 8-59 (Khurram), 9-66 (Usman Khan Shinwari), 10-73 (Zahir).
BOWLING: Muzarabani 2-0-8-1(1w); Sohail Tanvir 3-0-28-1;Shahnawaz Dhani 3.1-0-15-1; Imran Khan 2-0-13-2; Imran Tahir 3-0-7-3.

Current standings
(Tabulated under, played, won, lost, tied, no-result, points, net run-rate):
Islamabad United 8 6 2 0 0 12 +0.932
Peshawar Zalmi 9 5 4 0 0 10 +0.726
Lahore Qalandars 8 5 3 0 0 10 -0.183
Multan Sultans 9 4 4 0 0 8 +0.836
Karachi Kings 8 3 5 0 0 6 -0.288
Quetta Gladiators 9 2 7 0 0 4 -1.913
*updated after MultanSultansvs Quetta Gladiators match on Wednesday.

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