Those hoping to stop or at least slow down the Multan Sultans locomotive in Lahore were left disappointed on Thursday night as they won their sixth consecutive match and continued where they had left things in Karachi.
The match against Peshawar Zalmi began as most Multan matches do these days, with openers Shan Masood and Mohammad Rizwan providing a strong base, on which brutal hitter Tim David applied fireworks later on. Another routine thing was Masood’s casual brilliance (68 off 49) but one difference was Rizwan’s surprisingly lethargic 34 off 34.
Despite a slow first half of the innings, a total of 182 was still amassed. Then, it was the turn of Blessing Muzarabani to do his thing. The lanky Zimbabwean removed both Kamran Akmal and Haider Ali in his first over and from that point on Zalmi played catch up even though Multan’s uncharacteristic butterfingers (2 dropped catches) did give them ways to come back into the game but they did not accept it.
Multan are now through to the playoffs and can use the rest of the matches to either experiment, rest regulars or just embellish their already superb record.
Lahore Qalandars had their moments in the Karachi leg but ended it on a sour note. In fact, they had lost both the first and last matches of that leg, with a trio of victories in between.
That defeat in their last game was chastening as it came despite they having amassed 204 runs. They basically got handed a brutal beating by Jason Roy, who smashed a 57-ball 116 to dash Lahore’s hopes.
The two matches that they’ve lost were both similar in construct. Lahore batted first and thought that the 200-plus total has practically won them the game. But then their bowlers were put to the sword.
It’s clear that despite their star-studded line-up, they can concede runs at an alarming pace in high-pressure situations. The biggest culprit has been Haris Rauf, who has leaked 203 runs in five games at a rate of 10.32 runs per over.