–Multan Sultans 126 for 5 (Malik 31*, Shadab 2-20) beat Islamabad United 125 for 7 (Ronchi 51, Shafiq 2-11, Afridi 2-18) by five wickets
Multan Sultans’ veteran duo of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi had to dig deep and use all of their experience to earn their side a five-wicket victory over Islamabad United in a Pakistan Super League (PSL) season four match that was a lot closer than the final scoreline suggests.
After winning the toss and electing to field first, the Sultans restricted the defending champions to a meagre total of 125-7.
Afridi rolled back the years and produced a vintage all-round performance to headline Multan Sultans’ first win in PSL 2019. On a tired Dubai pitch, he unfurled all his tricks with the ball – the legbreak, googly, overspin, flipper and even the seam-up variety – to come away with 2 for 18 in his four overs. Twenty-two-year-old seamer Ali Shafiq also impressed with 2 for 11 as Islamabad United cobbled only 125 for 7 in their 20 overs.
Shafiq did not concede a single boundary in his four overs and burst through the gate of Shadab Khan, who had been promoted to No. 6.
Multan’s batsmen then threatened to make heavy weather of the chase, but Afridi’s dash (16* off eight balls) and captain Shoaib Malik’s calm (31 not out off 29 balls) ushered the side home. With his family in the stands, Afridi provided a blockbuster finish, with back-to-back sixes off seamer Waqas Masood in the penultimate over.
Luke Ronchi greeted Afridi into the attack with a pulled six and then hit Andre Russell out of the attack with 6,6,4. During the process, he reached a 31-ball fifty and by then Islamabad were 57 for 2 in the eighth over. In his next over, Afridi generated some overspin and had Ronchi splicing a slog-sweep to deep square leg. Two balls later, he was at it in the infield, pulling off a sharp, low catch at short midwicket to dismiss Hussain Talat for 7 off 12 balls.
After claiming the key wicket of Ronchi, Afridi bowled Philip Salt with a quick fizzer. How dare you attempt to scoop Afridi over the keeper’s head? He could have got another wicket had he hung onto to a fairly regulation return catch when Samit Patel scooped a legbreak back to him in his last over.
Afridi then walked into bat in the chase, with Multan needing 25 off 21 balls. He hit 16 off those, including the back-to-back sixes that sealed victory.
Multan Sultans: Shan Masood, Johnson Charles(wk), Laurie Evans, Shoaib Malik(capt), Andre Russell, Shahid Afridi, Hammad Azam, Chris Green, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Ali Shafiq
Islamabad United: Luke Ronchi(wk), Rizwan Hussain, Cameron Delport, Philip Salt, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Samit Patel, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Sami(capt), Waqas Maqsood