Crescent Kashmir

Peshawar snap Multan’s winning streak to get off the mark

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In a last-ball finish, Peshawar Zalmi held their nerves to register a thrilling five-run win over Multan Sultans on Friday (February 23). By virtue of this thrilling victory, Babar Azam’s men notched up their first win of the season and ended Multan’s three-match winning streak. A collective batting performance from Peshawar got them to a respectable total of 179 and then their bowlers hung in there despite a series of Multan counterattacks led by a Dawid Malan blitz (52 off 25 balls). Iftikhar Ahmed threatened to repeat his heroics from the last game but with six needed off two balls, he perished and along with him went Multan’s chances.

It was a brave performance from Peshawar and it started from the toss where they opted to bat first against Multan’s potent bowling attack. None of Zalmi’s batters got a fifty with Haseebullah Khan’s 18-ball 37 being the top-score for the visitors but most of their batters chipped in with useful cameos. Paul Walter and Rovman Powell kept the momentum going with lusty blows in the middle overs while Luke Wood’s strokes in the final over got the total closer to the 180-run mark. The surface did play better than the previous games in Multan but Rizwan’s bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals to ensure that Peshawar didn’t run away with the game.

However, the chase started with a bump as skipper Rizwan fell for a duck – a rare failure for the wicket-keeper bat, more so at this venue. Reeza Hendricks dropped anchor at one end, stitching valuable stands with Yasir Khan and Dawid Malan. It was the second partnership that really pushed Multan deep into the chase with Malan finding his bearings from ball one. It was also the phase during the middle overs where Peshawar’s bowling and fielding got sloppy. Hendricks couldn’t hit top gear but Malan’s fireworks meant that the South African could afford to play second fiddle.

With 58 needed off 34 balls and eight wickets left, Multan seemed to be cruising towards yet another win. That’s when Paul Walter, playing his first game of this season, got Malan with a slower ball. The dismissal started a chain reaction for Multan who then lost Hendricks to a scorching yorker from Salman Irshad. The asking rate started to shoot up and Iftikhar being starved of the streak at the end didn’t help Multan’s cause. However, Usama Mir and Abbas Afridi found the boundaries in their brief cameos to keep the game just about afloat for the home side.

Wood, though, produced an impeccable penultimate over that just went for two, leaving Multan with 22 to get off the final over against Naveen-ul-Haq. After a good first ball, a misfield that went for four hampered the Afghanistan pacer who then erred to allow Iftikhar another four followed by a six. There were also a few wides in between and out of nowhere, one hit was all that Multan needed. Fortunately for Peshawar, Naveen-ul-Haq held his nerve while Ifthikhar didn’t as the Pakistan finisher’s wild hoick only managed an edge through to the keeper. The pacer then closed out the final delivery, much to the relief of Babar and his troops.

Brief scores: Peshawar Zalmi 179/8 in 20 overs (Haseebullah Khan 37; Mohammad Ali 2-23, David Willey 2-28) beat Multan Sultans 174 in 20 overs (Dawid Malan 52; Arif Yaqoob 3-43, Luke Wood 2-13) by five runs

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