Heavy defeat for Islamabad United in their first match at Multan

MULTAN (Monitoring Desk): It was a forgettable maiden outing for Islamabad United at the Multan Cricket Stadium as Multan Sultans handed them their second biggest defeat (by 52 runs) in the HBL Pakistan Super League on Sunday afternoon.
Mohammad Rizwan and David Miller made terrific fifties on either side of the innings to propel the hosts to a towering 190 for four before a consolidated bowling effort – with Abbas Afridi’s maiden four-for standing out – skittled the visitors for 138 in 17.5 overs.
Rizwan became the only player to surpass the 200-mark in this edition over the course of his breezy 38-ball 50 that was studded with five fours and a maximum and Miller obliterated the visiting bowlers during his stunning 52, scored at a staggering strike rate of 208.
Despite another early dismissal of Shan Masood, Multan Sultans had a solid beginning with Rizwan and Rilee Rossouw (36 off 30) putting 91 runs in 65 balls. The two would have put more had Islamabad United not handed debut to Abrar Ahmed. The mystery spinner had the ever-dangerous Rossouw, who entered this contest at the back of 78 not out and 75, guessing and the intriguing contest between the two dried up the runs for Islamabad United. Rossouw could only score five off Abrar’s 11 balls as the spinner gave away only 21 runs in four overs.
Abrar was exceptional in his second spell – in which he bowled the ninth and 11th overs – as the batting side could only muster seven singles. Though Abrar could not take a wicket, the pressure that he had created garnered his side the wickets of Rossouw and Rizwan in the next two overs and Multan Sultans’ run rate nosedived to 7.53 from almost 10 before the beginning of the ninth over.
Miller staged an epic recovery smacking Shadab Khan for consecutive sixes on the first three balls and a four on the last ball of the 15th over that added 24 runs to the team’s total and dispatched Mohammad Wasim Jnr for a six and a four off consecutive balls two overs later.
Kieron Pollard, who has shown glimpses of his T20 batting prowess, joined the party by smoking Rumman Raees, who had been brilliant in the Powerplay, for a six and a four, in the 17th and finished off with consecutive fours on the last three balls of the innings.
Miller hit a boundary every 3.5 balls and was out on the first ball of the last over. His sparkling partnership with Pollard was worth 78 and had come in only 40 balls.
It was a typical start to the run chase for Islamabad United as their run rate hovered around nine in the Powerplay despite losing both openers to Mohammad Ilyas, who replaced Shahnawaz Dahahi after he injured his bowling hand. Rassie van der Dussen (49 off 32) and Colin Munro (31 off 23) threatened to take the game away from Multan Sultans during their 56-run stand, but Usama Mir inflicted twin blows in the 11th over to unravel the run chase.
Usama bowled a wily googly that kissed Munro’s leading edge on its way to Rizwan’s hands and Shadab Khan, one off three, mistimed a leg-break delivery that hurried onto him to be caught at deep square leg.
From here on it was Abbas Afridi’s show. The right-arm quick bowled Azam Khan in the 15th and accounted for van der Dussen, Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Wasim Jnr in the 17th to finish with the career-best figures of four for 22.
Ever-impressive Ihsanullah picked up the last two wickets – Tom Curran and Abrar – on the last two balls of the match.
Multan Sultans now boast six wins in seven matches at the Multan Cricket Stadium. In this edition, they have three wins in four matches in the HBL PSL 8 and sit comfortably at the top of the points table.
Scores in brief:
Multan Sultans 190-4, 20 overs (David Miller 52, Mohammad Rizwan 50, Rilee Rossouw 36, Kieron Pollard 32 not out)
Islamabad United 138 all out, 17.5 overs (Rassie van der Dussen 49, Colin Munro 31, Hassan Nawaz 21; Abbas Afridi 4-22, Mohammad Ilyas 2-12, Ihsanullah 2-19, Usama Mir 2-33)
Player of the match – Abbas Afridi (Multan Sultans).