Babar Azam’s unbeaten half century went in vain as Multan Sultans defeated defending champion Karachi Kings by 12 runs in the Pakistan Super League on Thursday.
Azam hit 85 off 63 balls, but Multan held Karachi to 164-7 through some disciplined seam and spin bowling.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Multan did well in the end to push their total to 176-5 with left-handed Khushdil Shah remaining unbeaten on 44 off 32 balls.
Fast bowler Imran Khan claimed 3-28 and leg-spinner Imran Tahir picked up the key wickets of Martin Guptill and Afghanistan’s Najibullah Zadran, who both scored 11 runs each as Azam was kept in check by the Multan bowlers.
Azam took his time to settle down and got little support from the other end to challenge the target. Azam raised his 18th half century in the PSL off 45 balls but his five fours and four sixes in the end were not enough to carry his team home.
Khan claimed all his three wickets in the last over and was on a hat trick when he dismissed Thisara Perera and captain Imad Wasim off successive deliveries.
Young Qasim Akram denied Khan the hat trick before offering a tame catch off the last ball at extra cover.
South African Rilee Rossouw smashed seven fours in his quickfire 44 off 24 balls and it looked like Multan could cross the 200-run mark.
Rossouw and captain Mohammad Rizwan (29) shared a 68-run third wicket stand off 39 balls as Multan reached 107-2 by the halfway stage.
But Karachi hit back through Thisara Perera, who bagged 2-12 off his three overs as Rossouw sliced a catch to long on and Rizwan was run-out in the same over while attempting a needless second run.
The left-handed Shah propelled Multan’s total with an unbeaten 44 off 32 balls when he hammered Mohammad Amir for three fours and a six in the last over as the left-arm fast bowler, now retired from international cricket, finished with expensive figures of 0-42 off his four overs.
With their second win from six games, Multan now have four points. Despite their third loss in the six-team tournament, Karachi are second with six points.
Pakistan’s premier Twenty20 league was moved to Abu Dhabi for the remaining 20 games after it was suspended in March when several players and support staff tested positive for Covid-19 in a bio-secure bubble at Karachi.
Multan Sultans beat Karachi Kings by 12 runs.
Multan Sultans 176-5, 20 overs (Khushdil Shah 44 not out, Rilee Rossouw 44, Sohaib Maqsood 31, Mohammad Rizwan 29)
Karachi Kings 164-7, 20 overs (Babar Azam 85 not out, Chadwick Walton 35; Imran Khan Snr 3-28, Imran Tahir 2-27).
Player of the match: Rilee Rossouw (Multan Sultans)