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Usman-inspired Sultans edge Kings to reach PSL 9 Playoffs

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KARACHI: Usman Khan’s belligerent century, followed by a combined bowling performance led Multan Sultans to a 20-run victory over Karachi Kings in the 19th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 here at National Bank Stadium on Sunday.

The 20-run victory meant Multan Sultans became the first team to qualify for the Playoffs in the ongoing ninth edition of the marquee league.

Chasing a mammoth 190, the Kings could accumulate 169 for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted 20 overs.

The home side got off to an unwanted start to the pursuit as they lost two wickets — Tim Seifert (1) and James Vince (7) — inside the batting powerplay with just 28 runs on the board.

Following the slump, skipper Shan Masood partnered with Shoaib Malik to anchor the run chase briefly.

The pair batted sensibly and added 53 runs for the third wicket before Usama Mir dismissed Masood in the 10th over to dent Kings’ recovery.

Masood scored an anchoring 36 off 29 deliveries, hitting five boundaries.

Malik then put together a brief partnership with Leus du Plooy (12) before both fell in successive overs, resulting in the Kings slipping to 99/5 in 13 overs.

Veteran all-rounder Malik top-scored for the Kings with a 28-ball 38 which featured five boundaries.

The Kings then lost another wicket in the 17th over when Muhammad Irfan Khan returned after scoring a 19-ball 23.

Hasan Ali and Mohammad Nawaz offered valuable resistance in the death over with a brilliant 41-run partnership which lasted on the penultimate delivery but the Kings fell short of tasting their third victory in the PSL 9.

Hasan scored a brisk 17 off eight deliveries while Nawaz remained unbeaten with a 17-ball 27, featuring three boundaries and a six.

For the Sultans, Usama Mir bagged two wickets while David Willey, Chris Jordan, Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Ali struck out a batter apiece.

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Sultans’ captain Mohammad Rizwan’s decision to bat first paid dividends for his side as they racked up a massive total of 189/3 on the board, courtesy of a marathon second-wicket stand.

The Sultans had a dismal start to their innings as they lost Reeza Hendricks (13) with just 16 runs on the board in the second over.

Following the early debacle, Usman joined his skipper Rizwan in the middle and the duo launched an astounding counterattack.

The pair batted for more than 15 overs and added 148 runs to the Sultans’ total.

Usman was the core aggressor of the magnificent partnership while Rizwan anchored through before finally perishing in the 18th over after a cautious half-century.

He scored 58 off 44 deliveries with the help of five boundaries.

The Sultans then sustained another blow to their batting expedition when Iftikhar Ahmed (4) perished on the first delivery of the penultimate over, bowled by Hasan Ali.

But Usman Khan stood his ground firm and brought up his second PSL century in the final over with a six over deep square leg off Mir Hamza.

Usman carried his bat all the way through and scored an unbeaten 106 of 59 deliveries, laced up with 15 boundaries including five sixes.

Blessing Muzarabani led the bowling attack for the Kings while Hasan made one scalp.

For the unversed, Multan Sultans are at the summit of the PSL 9 standings with 10 points in six matches while Karachi Kings are fifth with four points in five matches.

READ: Michael Clarke gears up for commentary stint in PSL 9

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