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Multan Sultan lift PSL trophy

KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi were left heartbroken for the third time in four seasons as Multan Sultans outclassed them by 47 runs in the final to clinch their maiden HBL Pakistan Super League crown at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Chasing a record target of 207 in a decider, Peshawar’s reply never got going as a daunting asking rate of over 10 runs an over proved too much for them.

The demise of the Afghan left-hander, who had been in red-hot form, struck Pesha­war like lightning and there was no comeback after that.

Earlier Multan had rattled up 206-4 on the back of blistering half-centuries from Sohaib Maqsood and Rilee Rossouw.

The joy on the faces of Multan players was obvious because it became a virtual one-way traffic for Moham­mad Rizwan’s charges while Peshawar limped to their third successive defeat in a final — the 2017 title winners were humbled by Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The wily former South African spinner Imran Tahir drove the last nail in Peshawar’s coffin by picking three wickets in his last over to finish with 3-33. The only semblance of fight came from Shoaib Malik, who waged a lone battle by striking 48 off 28 balls (three sixes and three fours). He shared the only substantial partnership of the innings — 66 in 30 balls — with Rovman Powell (23).

Multan put up a scintillating exhibition of power-hitting coupled with deft touches, through Sohaib and Rossouw to comfortably cross the magical 200 mark. The third-wicket partnership of 98 in just 44 balls between them left Peshawar in a daze as the rampant Multan batting plundered 116 runs from the last eight overs, thanks to sizzling strokes from Sohaib and Rossouw. Khushdil Shah rubbed more salt into Peshawar’s wounds by smacking two consecutive sixes off Amad Butt, who went for 21 runs in the final over.

Multan, who were languishing on the fifth spot when the Karachi leg was suspended in March, made it to the decider by winning five out of six matches on the Abu Dhabi leg, while Peshawar faced a bumpy ride, losing twice at the start.

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