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PSL 2018: Kumar Sangakkara stars as Multan Sultans beat Peshawar Zalmi in opener

Riding on Kumar Sangakkara’s half-century, Multan Sultans defeated Peshawar Zalmi by seven wickets in the opening game of the 2018 Pakistan Super League (PSL).

cricket Updated: Feb 23, 2018 18:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan Super League,PSL 2018,2018 Pakistan Super League
Kumar Sangakkara’s 57 proved vital in Multan Sultans’ seven-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi in the opening game of the 2018 Pakistan Super League (PSL). (Twitter )

Multan Sultans beat defending champions Peshawar Zalmi by seven wickets in the opening match of the 2018 Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.

Asked to bat first, Peshawar Zalmi rode on Mohammad Hafeez’s measured half-century and a late blitz from captain Darren Sammy to post a 151/6 in their 20 overs. However, Kumar Sangakkara’s 51-ball 57 and an unbeaten 46-run stand between Shoaib Malik and Kieron Pollard saw Sultans chase down the target with five deliveries to spare. Malik, who remained unbeaten on 42, finished the chase in style with a six off Hammad Azam.

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While Sangakkara and Malik were the top two scorers for Multan Sultans, Pollard played a handy cameo with a brisk 13-ball 21*.

Sultans, though, began their chase on a wrong note, losing opener Ahmed Shehzad for a six-ball duck with Wahab Riaz dropping one short and forcing him into an awkward pull as the ball landed in hands of the fine leg fielder.

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Veteran Sangakkara then showed his class with three sumptuous strokes for fours. However, they were scoring at a slow clip and Sohaib Maqsood corrected that anomaly to some extent in the final over of the Powerplay as he went after Azam to clatter two fours and a six off him. But his propensity to play big shots got the better of him when he holed out to Chris Jordan off Mohammad Asghar at long-off on 21 off 16 in the 9th over.

From thereon, Sangakkara was joined by Malik and together they steered the innings in the forward direction taking calculated risks while steadily wiping out the arrears. There innings progressed almost at the same pace to that of Peshawar’s with a late change of gears proving decisive. Together, the duo added 52 runs for the third wicket before being separated.

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Earlier, Peshawar were given early jolts after being asked to bat and they lost opener Kamran Akmal (0) and Tamim Iqbal (11) inside four overs with left-arm pacer Mohammad Irfan picking up both the wickets.

The experienced pair of Dwayne Smith and Mohammad Hafeez began to repair the early damage. Smith looked in ominous touch as he clattered the first six of the tournament off legspinner Imran Tahir and off the following delivery successfully reversed an lbw decision. Later, Hafeez danced down the track, off Tahir, sending the ball flying over long-on for a six to join the party. The South African had the last laugh though as he had Smith caught at long-on for 24 off 23. Runs weren’t coming easy for Peshawar as they crawled to 57/3 halfway through their innings.

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Hafeez played a calculated knock while others around him dazzled only to fall in quicktime. He had his share of luck when an edge evaded wicketkeeper Sangakkara’s grasp to roll away for four. But Multan weren’t complaining with their opposition moving at a slow pace at 100/3 in 15 overs.

The dismissal of Haris Sohail and the arrival of Sammy changed the complexion of the innings. The late assault was triggered by Hafeez as he crashed back-to-back fours off Sohail Tanvir - the first of which took him to his half-century off 48 deliveries in the 18th over. In the same over, Sammy took matters in his hands and upped the ante with a hook and a stunning drive off consecutive deliveries for two sixes.

Junaid Khan ended Hafeez’s knock at 59 (52b, 4X6, 1X6) when he pulled one to square leg to be caught by Shoaib Maqsood in the penultimate over. Sammy though continued the carnage with a six and a four to race to 24 off just 7 balls.

He would hit one more four before becoming Tanvir’s lone victim of the night, departing for an entertaining 11-ball 29 with Peshawar looting 45 runs from their last three overs and post a respectable total. Irfan was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with figures of 2/19 while the rest four also chipped in with a wicket each. For the losing side, Wahab took 2/19 from his four overs.

Brief Scores: Multan Sultans 152/3 (Kumar Sangakkara 57, Shoaib Malik 42*; Wahab Riaz 2/19) beat Peshawar Zalmi 151/6 (Mohammad Hafeez 59; Mohammad Irfan 2/19) by seven wickets

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 18:02 IST