Multan Sultans, Lahore Qalandars register maiden wins

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Multan Sultans opened their account in PSL 2019 with a five-wicket win over Islamabad United in the first game of Saturday’s double-header. After restricting United to 125 from their allotted overs, courtesy a disciplined bowling effort, Sultans took longer than expected but knocked off the target with ease to pick up first points of the season.
Put in to bat first, United suffered a dramatic top and middle order collapse despite Luke Ronchi standing firm at one end. Ronchi hit a 33-ball 51, studded with five sixes, and was third dismissed when United’s overall score was just 61. Contrasting knocks late in the day from Samit Patel and Faheem Ashraf – both contributing 20 each – took their team to a respectable 125. Ali Shafiq and Shahid Afridi were the pick of the bowlers, with combined figures of 4 for 29 from their eight overs.
Sultans lost Johnson Charles early in their chase but Shan Massod and Laurie Evans quickly got the team back on track with a 37-run partnership. The duo departed in quick succession but skipper Shoaib Malik took charge next. He stitched three slow but useful stands with Hammad Azam, Andre Russell and then Shahid Afridi to take their team over the line.
The equation was down to 14 required off 12 balls when Afridi sealed the deal with two back to back sixes in the penultimate over to help Sultans win by five wickets with eight balls to spare.
Brief scores: Islamabad United 125/7 in 20 overs (Luke Ronchi 51, Samit Patel 20*, Faheem Ashraf 20*; Ali Shafiq 2-11, Shahid Afridi 2-18) lost to Multan Sultans 126/5 in 18.4 overs (Shoaib Malin 31*, Shan Masood 26; Shahdab Khan 2-20) by 5 wickets.