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February 23, 2021

Zalmi, Sultans seek to bounce back

Sports

February 23, 2021

KARACHI: The two losers of the first round, Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans, will be looking for their maiden win when they face each other in their second round fixture of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 here at National Stadium on Tuesday (today).

The match starts at 7pm.

Both sides showed some spark in their opening matches and will try their level best to raise their performances in the second round. Zalmi’s top order completely failed to click. If the former winners Zalmi are to beat well-balanced Multan, then at least two of the top order batsmen — Kamran Akmal, Imam-ul-Haq, Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik — will have to show their class as exhibited by their senior English batsman Ravi Bopara with a nice fifty in the first game against Lahore.

No concern was seen in Zalmi’s batting in death overs as pinch hitters Sherfane Rutherford and Amad Butt did well with the willow to take Zalmi to a reasonable total.

Although Zalmi could not defend 140 against Lahore on Sunday, their foreign resources, English bowler Saqib Mahmood and prolific T20 spinner Mujeeb Zadran, did a terrific job to keep Zalmi in the hunt. Zalmi will need to bring in Umaid Asif as the paceman has the ability to extract enough support of the NSK pitch which has helped so far those bowlers who have hit the right areas.

Multan Sultans will have to recover quickly from their shock defeat they faced at the hands of the former two-time winners Islamabad United. At one stage when United had been reduced to 74-6 while chasing 151 it seemed that Rizwan-led Multan would easily win this game. But it did not happen. English all-rounder Lewis Gregory showed great resilience.

Needing 20 from the last two overs, Gregory (49*) hit the experienced Sohail Tanvir for three fours and one six which took the game away from Multan. Before that over, Multan had seemed the game favourites.

Multan will have to improve their batting as they relied only on their skipper Mohammad Rizwan who guided his side to a fighting total with a brilliant 71. South African Rilee Rossouw showed his class also in a brief but productive stay at the crease.

Multan will be very happy that their ace all-rounder Shahid Afridi looks fit, even much more agile than a bunch of youngsters playing around him. He not only took two crucial wickets with a good economy rate but also ran Iftikhar Ahmad (1) out via a rocket return from his follow-through. Multan need to play leggie Usman Qadir alongside Afridi. The pair will be a real threat to the oppositions.

So far in the PSL history Multan and Peshawar have faced each other six times. Multan won four, winning the 2018 and 2020 edition matches and Peshawar emerging ictorious in both matches in the 2019 edition.

Richard Illingworth and Shozab Raza will supervise the match. Roshan Mahanama will be the match referee.

Peshawar Zalmi: Abrar Ahmed, Amad Butt, David Miller, Haider Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Tom-Kohler Cadmore, Mohammad Amir Khan, Mohammad Irfan Snr, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Imran Randhawa, Mujeeb-Ur-Rehman, Ravi Bopara, Saqib Mahmood, Sherfane Rutherford, Shoaib Malik, Umaid Asif, Wahab Riaz (captain)

Multan Sultans: Adam Lyth, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Lynn, Shahid Afridi, Imran Tahir, Imran Khan Snr, James Vince, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Rizwan (captain), Mohammad Umar, Rilee Rossouw, Shahnawaz Dhani, Shan Masood, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohaibullah, Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Usman Qadir.