Multan Sultans overpowered Lahore Qalandars
in the qualifier playoff with a 28 runs win to book a place in the final of the
Pakistan Super League-7 here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.

Multan Sultan bowlers successfully defended
their 163 for two, built by Mohammad Rizwan and Rilee Rossouw with their
unbeaten partnership, by restricting Lahore Qalandars at 135 for nine.

As defending champions Multan continued its dominance in season to
reach the final, Lahore Qalandars will now on Friday face the winner of
Thursday’s match between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United.

Kept in their limits for most of the time by Sultans, Qalandars
came in the game in the 12th and 13th overs when their inform batsman Fakhar
Zaman smashed four sixes and made around 30 plus runs. But Multan developed
pressure on Qalandars with change of variation in bowling to hit with five
wickets in five overs for 27 runs, leaving them in tatters.

Fakhar and Harry Brook built on the Qalandars’ innings after
losing three wickets during which Multan kept Qalandars run rate in permanent
check. But in the 12th over delivered by Tahir, Fakhar slapped 20 runs,
including three sixes and another 12 came in the next over of Khushdil Shah.
Qalandars were suddenly 67 for three to 99 for three at the end of 13th over
when it looked they would get away with win but things changed within a span of
around 14 balls.

Fakhar, who completed yet another half century of the tournament
in between the chase, came up with 54 runs fourth wickets stand with Brook. The
match which came in Qalandars grasp suddenly slipped Multan’s way when
Shahnawaz Dahani sent Brook (13) back to the pavilion. And in the next over,
David Willey trapped Fakhar leg before at his personal 63 off 45 balls. He
timed two boundaries and four mighty sixes. Fakhar was followed by Phil Salt
and again Multan was in control of the game with Qalandars at 109 for six in
the 16th over. The next coming batters Samit Patel, Shaheen Shah Afridi and
David Wiese too went cheaply while Haris Rauf and Zaman Khan remained not out.

Lahore Qalandars were kept in the lid right from the start of
their innings. Multan Sultans applied enough pressure in the powerplay that Qalandars
could manage 31 runs for one in the first five overs. And with no easy
boundaries coming, Qalandars were down three wickets with 48 on board by the
9th over and rest was history.

Abdullah Shafique, who was LBW to Asif Afridi, scored merely 5
runs and the following batsman Kamran Ghulam, when seem at ease on the wicket,
was run out for 20 off 17 balls; hitting two fours. He was immediately followed
by Mohammad Hafeez on duck, stumped of Khushdil Shah.

Shahnawaz Dahani was the star of the day after Rizwan and Rilee
heroics. He picked three wickets while David Willey got two and Asif Afridi,
Rumman Raees and Khushdil Shah shared one each.

Multan Sultans somehow set a target of 164 runs for Lahore
Qalandars after its bowlers bowled superbly. They did not give room to Mohammad
Rizwan and Rilee Rossouw to hit freely. Specially Mohammad Hafeez who given
away just 16 runs in his 4 overs and took one wicket.

Multan’s skipper Rizwan and one down batter Rilee Rossouw,
produced an unbeaten 113-runs partnership to strengthen their team’s total Put
in to bat, Sultans started off poorly, losing the wicket of their in-form
opener Shan Masood just for two but they bounced back and went on to pile up a
fighting total.

Lingering at 3 for one, Aamer Azmat joined Rizwan at the crease
and developed important 47 runs for the second wicket to spine the score.
Azmat, who was looking solid could not keep going for long and became the
victim of Samit Patel, who got him stumped in the seventh over.

Azmat scored a quick 33 off 22 balls with the help of five
boundaries. His departure united Rizwan with Rossouw and they played
intelligently to consolidate the score with their unbeaten partnership.

They first settled down amidst tight Qalandars’ bowling and then
gradually accelerated the flow of runs. Rizwan scored 53 off 51 balls with the
help of three boundaries, while Rossouw top-scored with 65 off 42 balls as he
smacked smacking seven boundaries and a six. For the Qalandars, Mohammad Hafeez
and Patel made one scalp each.


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