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Peshawar Zalmi stun leaders Multan Sultans in high-scoring contest

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RAWALPINDI: A combined batting and bowling effort led Peshawar Zalmi to a narrow four-run victory over leaders Multan Sultans in the 21st match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 here at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

Chasing a mammoth 205, the Sultans narrowly missed out on pulling off the highest successful run chase in the ongoing PSL 9 as a six off the final delivery of the innings took them to the 200-run mark.

The leaders got off to a dismal start to the pursuit as they lost their opener Reeza Hendricks (five) in the fifth over with just 45 runs on the board.

They sustained another blow in the eighth over when their skipper Mohammad Rizwan perished while attempting to steal a tight single.

He scored an anchoring 32 off 24 deliveries with the help of two boundaries and a six.

Dawid Malan (19) and Tayyab Tahir (26) put together an anchoring 31-run partnership for the third wicket but both perished in the 12th over, bringing the Sultans down to 91/4 in 12 overs.

Coming out to bat at number six, Iftikhar Ahmed partnered briefly with Khushdil Shah, who managed a mere 11 off 10 deliveries.

Iftikhar then switched gears after his cautious stand with Khushdil and kept the Sultans in the hunt with belligerent hitting.

He was supported well by Chris Jordan, who made 30 not out off just 12 deliveries, but failed to snatch a thrilling victory for his side despite hitting Salman Irshad for a six on the final delivery.

Iftikhar top-scored for the Sultans with an unbeaten 60 off 27 deliveries, peppered with four boundaries and five sixes.

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Babar’s decision to bat first paid dividends for the Zalmi as they racked up 204/5 in the allotted 20 overs against Playoffs-bound Sultans.

Zalmi openers Babar and Saim once again gave the former champions a steady start with a blistering partnership.

Their stand yielded 84 runs before Saim perished in the seventh over off Usama Mir.

The left-handed batter fell agonizingly short of his well-deserved half-century, scoring 46 off 22 deliveries, hitting three boundaries and five sixes.

Tom Kohler Cadmore then partnered briefly with Babar for a cautious 13-run stand before falling victim to Mir in the 10th over. He managed just five off nine deliveries.

Meanwhile, Babar Azam stood his ground firm and carried his bat till the 15th over before being cleaned up by Usama Mir after scoring a brilliant half-century.

He remained the top-scorer for Zalmi with a 40-ball 64 which featured seven boundaries and two sixes.

Babar was also involved in an important 51-run partnership for the third wicket with wicketkeeper batter Haseebullah Khan, who made a brisk 31. His 20-ball knock featured three boundaries and a six.

Following Haseebullah’s dismissal in the 17th over, Rovman Powell took the reigns of Zalmi’s batting charge and played an unbeaten 23-run cameo.

He received notable support from Asif Ali (10) and Aamer Jamal, who scored 12 not out off just five deliveries.

Usama Mir led the bowling charge for Multan Sultans with 3/32, followed by Chris Jordan, who bagged two.

Notably, former champions Multan Sultans have booked their place in the PSL 9 playoffs with a victory over Karachi Kings on Sunday.

Mohammad Rizwan-led side are currently at the summit of the standings with 12 points in seven matches. Whereas, Babar Azam’s Peshawar Zalmi are fourth with seven points in as many matches.

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