Multan Sultans was the first team to qualify for the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 season when they defeated Islamabad United in a rain-reduced nine-over match at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
The nine-wicket victory further consolidated the sultans’ stay at the top of the HBL PSL 2020 points table. You now have 11 points after seven games (five wins, one result without a result, one defeat) and you are guaranteed a place in the play-offs in which the four best teams will be represented at the end of the group phase.
United, who have only seven points after nine games and have a difficult task to ensure play-off qualification, would not only have to win their last game (against Karachi Kings on March 14) but may also have to other results leave for progress in the play-offs.
On Sunday afternoon, another monumental effort by the ground staff at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium saw to it that the game was played after heavy rain had wet the field well before the game started. The game finally started with a delay of more than two hours.
The Sultan’s skipper, Shan Masood, won the litter and chose the first bowl. United was limited to 91 in his nine overs for seven. Opener Colin Munro scored the first goal with 25 of 12 balls. All of his three sixes were scored with successive balls from a Shahid Afridi who ran for 20 runs. But apart from the Afridi, United was struggling to get the Sultan’s bowlers away.
Leg spinner Imran Tahir took two gates for 13 runs in two probing attempts, while left Junaid Khan took two for 13 in his pairing attempt.
In addition to Munro, Luke Ronchi (18) and Captain Shadab Khan (14) were the only batsmen to reach double-digit numbers.
The man of the game, James Vince, showed a stunning performance with 61 unbeaten 24 of 24 balls (11 fours, one six) to ensure the Sultans a comfortable victory with 14 balls. Vince added 68 runs for the first wicket with Zeeshan Ashraf (16) and ended the game in Moeen Ali’s (14 not out, five balls, three-four) company after Zeeshan was released by Shadab.
Match Summary and Result:
Islamabad United 91 for 7, 9 overs (Colin Munro 25, Luke Ronchi 18; Imran Tahir 2-13, Junaid Khan 2-17)
Multan Sultans 94 for 1, 6.4 overs (James Vince 61 not out, Zeeshan Ashraf 16; Shadab Khan 1-30)
Result Multan Sultans win by nine wickets