- Peshawar could only manage 159/9 in 20 overs while chasing 207
Mohammad Rizwan-led Multan Sultans have won their maiden Pakistan Super League (PSL) title after thumping hot-favourite Peshawar Zalmi by 47 runs in the final at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Peshawar could only manage 159/9 runs in 20 overs while chasing a gigantic target of 207 runs.
Peshawar Zalmi skipper Wahab Riaz won an all-important toss and put Multan Sultans to bat with an aim to emulate the performance of the second eliminator.
However, Multan Sultans openers Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood saw off the tricky phase with a straight bat and scored 42 runs in the powwrrplat without losing a wicket.
The duo put up a 68-run stand for the opening wicket, making Zlami bowlers toil for a breakthrough. Shan Masood was the first man to depart. He got cleaned up while trying to power a slower ball from Mohammad Imran for his 37.
Rizwan, who had been playing more of an anchor's role in this innings, was next to fall. He went for run-a-ball 30 and Multan were 83/2 in 11 overs.
The next man to walk in was explosive batsman Rilee Rossouw, who with a 98-run partnership with Sohaib Maqsood, dismantled the Zalmi bowling lineup. Rossouw departed after a 21-ball 50, leaving his team 181/3 in the 19th over. Sohaib Maqsood, who has recently earned a national call up, played through the innings, scoring an unbeaten 65 runs off 35 balls.
Thanks to these two, Multan scored 119 runs in the last nine overs to post a sizeable total of 206/4.
Sameen Gul, the replacement for Umaid Asif who was suspended due to a bubble breach, was the pick of the bowlers for Zalmi. He took two important wickets of Rossouw and Johnson Charles, and conceded only 26 runs in his quota of overs.
Zalmi, who had chased down the 175-run target the other night, took a flying start to this chase as well. However, instead of Hazratullah Zazai, the star of the Eliminator 2 against Islamabad United, it was Kamran steering the ship.
Kamran had scored 36 of the total 42 runs madd in the first five overs when Zazai, after hitting his only six of the innings, misread a slower ball from Blessing Muzarabani and got caught in the covers.
Kamran Akmal followed Zazai in the next over, misreading a swinging delivery from Imran Khan that shattered his stumps. Zalmi were 42/2.
Two quick wickets hammered Peshawar's chase and they slowed down to preserve wickets, only to lose Jonathan Wells in the process. He got run out while trying to steal an impossible second run. Wells departed for 6 from 13 balls, leaving Peshawar reeling at 58/3 in the 10th over.
Rovman Powell joined Shoaib Malik in the middle. The duo kept tapping it around for singles and doubles for a couple of overs before a no-ball from Imran, which could have earned him a wicket, allowed Malik to open his arms. He smashed the free-hit from Imran for a humongous six followed by a four and then another a six in his over to get Zalmi back in the game.
Rovman followed his suit and began to dispatch bowlers all over the park. However, his short stint came to an end when Muzarabani got him caught behind on an angling-in delivery. Rovman departed for his 23 after an important 66-run partnership on 29 balls with Malik.
The next partnership lasted for 13 runs when Malik, who he was looking dangerous, top-edged one from Sohail Tanvir and got caught at mid-wicket. He scored 48 from 28 balls.
His wicket triggered panic as the next five wickets fell for just 15 runs within the next three overs. Rutherford, who had opened his account with a six, went for 18. Imran Tahir removed him and the next two batters, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Imran within a space of just 4 balls.
Imran Khan then sent Amad Butt back to the pavilion for 8 in the next over, getting his team in sight of the victory. With Sameen Gul and Mohammad Irfan seeing off the final two overs without giving away the wicket, Peshawar ended up on 159/9 in their quota of overs, losing the big final by 47 runs.
Imran Tahir turned the game around with the ball by taking three wickets for 33 runs.