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Sultans edge winless Qalandars to stay perfect in PSL 9

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MULTAN: Multan Sultans clinched a five-wicket victory over Lahore Qalandars to extend their winning streak while the holders succumbed to their third defeat on the trot in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 here on Wednesday.

Set to chase 167, the Sultans accumulated 170/5 with an over to spare, courtesy of Mohammad Rizwan’s anchoring half-century, followed by Iftikhar Ahmed’s late fireworks.

The home side had a shaky start to the pursuit as they were reduced to 15/2 in 2.5 overs, courtesy of a sensational pace bowling display from the Qalandars.

Skipper Mohammad Rizwan batted sensibly and put together a one-sided partnership with Yasir Khan (8). The third-wicket stand yielded 38 runs.

Rizwan was then joined by his deputy David Willey and the duo put Sultans in command with a magnificent 75-run partnership.

Both batters appeared to have attained full control until Rizwan misfired a slog sweep off Zaman Khan and finally perished in the 17th over.

He remained the top-scorer for his side with a gutsy 82 off 59 deliveries, laced up with nine boundaries and three sixes.

Willey followed Rizwan in the next over when Shaheen Shah Afridi trapped him lbw with a toe-crushing yorker after being hit for a gigantic six. Willey remained a notable contributor with a 23-ball 25.

Later, Iftikhar Ahmed turned the game on its head with belligerent hitting and steered his side to glory with relative ease.

He smashed five boundaries and two sixes on his way to an unbeaten 34 off 11 deliveries.

Shaheen and Zaman both bagged two wickets for the Qalandars while George Linde made one scalp.

The five-wicket victory strengthened Multan Sultans’ hold at the summit of the PSL 9 standings with six points in three matches while Lahore Qalandars remained at the rock bottom.

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Opting to bat first, the Qalandars registered a formidable total on the board, despite a dismal start to their innings.

The defending champions lost their in-form opener, Sahibzada Farhan (2) in the second over, bowled by Mohammad Ali, with just three runs on the board.

Following the early debacle, van der Dussen joined Fakhar Zaman in the middle and the duo, batted sensibly to launch a recovery.

They added 94 runs for the second wicket in just 11 overs until van der Dussen fell victim to Usama Mir, briefly after amassing his half-century.

He remained the top-scorer for the Qalandars with a 37-ball 54, smashing four boundaries and two sixes.

Fakhar then put together a brief partnership with Jahandad Khan, before finally perishing in the 16th over.

He scored 41 off 36 deliveries with the help of two boundaries and two sixes.

Later, all-rounders Sikandar Raza and Jahandad added valuable runs at the backend with brief cameos.

Raza scored 23 off 16 deliveries with the help of four boundaries while Jahandad made a nine-ball 16 which featured a six.

Carlos Brathwaite then gave a late push to the Qalandars’ total with a brisk 15. His eight-ball knock featured one boundary and a six.

Right-arm pacer Mohammad Ali, once again, led the bowling charge for Multan Sultans in PSL 9, picking up two wickets while Abbas Afridi and Usama Mir could take one apiece.

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