Another PSL8 heartbreak for Karachi Kings in Multan

Imad Wasim Karachi Kings | Multan Sultans PSL 8 | Karachi vs Multan

So close, yet so far. That has been the story of Imad Wasim’s side in the ongoing Pakistan Super League season eight (PSL8) as they suffered another heartbreaking defeat in the competition.

Chasing a 197-run target in front of an electric crowd in Multan Cricket Stadium, they managed to score 193/5 in the allotted 20 overs. Imad Wasim, who played a fighting knock of 26-ball 46, had his head held down in agony as they fell three runs short of pulling off an amazing victory.

“We had it in the bag,” said the Karachi Kings captain. “We could not finish it off. It is unfortunate but we lacked game awareness in the end.”

Kings had a flying start thanks to Mathew Wade and James Vince, who smashed the Sultans bowlers all around the part for their 72-run stand, which came from just 37 deliveries.

Wade, who played more than a capable supporting role in the opening partnership, started off the proceeding by hitting Mohammad Ilyas down the ground for a boundary. He then smashed Carlos Brathwaite for 14 runs ¬– a six on the square leg and two boundaries one at mid-off and the other over the keeper’s head.

England’s Vince, who was cautious early on, scored just five until then and took on Ilyas by smashing him for 14 runs. He too hit a maximum and two boundaries in the over.

He then deposited Abbas Afridi straight down the ground for a maximum as Karachi reached 51/0 after four overs. Vince’s show continued as he finished the powerplay in style by hitting Abbas for a 106-meter six. The next delivery, which was back of a length, was held on its way toward the square leg boundary.

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The Englishman completed his 20-ball half-century – the quickest in PSL this season – by hitting the pacer for another maximum at the square leg as Karachi reached 72/0 after six overs.

“I think the intent was really nice,” Imad said praising the team effort. “In the middle overs, we slowed it down. In T20 cricket, we have to finish games. We have not been able to do that (this season). We have to sit and talk. If we lose one more, we might be out of the competition. It is just a matter of clicking and believing in ourselves.”

Lanky leg-spinner Usama Mir provided the first breakthrough to the home side after the powerplay as he trapped Wade for a leg before wicket (LBW). He scored 14-ball 20 with the help of a six and three boundaries.

In the 9th over, Vince again decided to put the accelerator down as he hit Mir for a couple of sixes. His entertaining knock comes to an end thanks to a mix-up with Haider Ali, which resulted in a runout. The right-hander scored 75 off 34 balls, where he struck seven fours and six maximums.

His departure slowed things down in the middle with Shoaib Malik and Haider operating in the middle. Haider was sent packing by Khushdil Shah. He scored 12 off 17 balls.

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In the last five overs, Karachi needed 60 of 30 balls. Ihsanullah bowled a superb over, where he conceded just three runs. He remained wicketless but bowled an economical spell where he conceded just 17 in the high-scoring game.

Malik tried to take on Abbas Afridi, but he only managed to hit the ball straight into the hands of Kieron Pollard. He struggled for his 13(19).

When Ben Cutting joined Imad Wasim, King required another 48 from the last three overs. Imad took on Iyas when he smashed the young pacer for two maximum in the 19th over as they managed to score 18.

In the last over Kings needed 22. First Imad hit the chest-high full toss into the stands. Then Cutting smashed Abbas for a gigantic 107 metres six. With seven runs required from four deliveries, the rookie pacer made a stunning comeback as he removed cutting and just conceded three runs to give Multan their fourth win in the tournament.

“I want to give credit to our bowlers,” said Sultans captain Mohammad Rizwan, adjudged man of the match for his brilliant 110.  “At the halfway stage, we thought we were 10-15 runs short. The way Abbas bowled the last over, the way Ihsanullah has been bowling this tournament, the way Ilyas bowled – they should be given credit.”

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Batting first, Sultans had their best start in the tournament so far. Shan Masood finally got runs under his belt after failure in four innings.

The left-hander scored a classy 51 off 33 as he and Mohammad Rizwan put up an 85-run stand for the first wicket. The former Sultans captain struck six boundaries and a maximum.

“I did not play well early on. The ball was coming onto the bat. Shan was playing well so I took my time,” said Rizwan. “Shoaib [Malik] bhai and Imran [Tahir] bhai were bowling brilliantly in the middle overs.”

Shan was eventually sent back to the hut on the 11th thanks to Shoaib Malik. The real fireworks from Sultans started in the last five over when Rizwan and Rilee Rossouw were operating at the crease.

The duo made a 106-run stand and Rossouw was just a spectator at the non-striker. He scored 21-ball 29 with the help of four boundaries, while Rizwan hammered 77 from 35 balls in the partnership.

The wicketkeeper batter hit 10 boundaries and four maximums as he scored a 64-ball ton striking at 171.87. His onslaught helped Sultans reach 196/2 in their 20 overs.

Malik and Mohammad Umar claimed a wicket each for the Kings.

The two sides will kick off the second leg when they will meet at the National Bank Cricket Area on February 26.

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