Rizwan and Afridi heroics went in vain as Islamabad United went on Multan Sultans by three wickets
A heroic knock from Muhammad Rizwan and a fearless spell from Shahid Afridi could not overcome the brilliant knock from Lewis Gregory whose unbeaten 49 runs knock guided Islamabad victory in a tight match against Multan on Sunday at National Stadium, Karachi.
Chasing 151. Islamabad lost their opener Phil Salt (13 off 12) early, caught by James Vince off the bowling of Mohammad Umar.
Shadab Khan moved himself up the order but the move did not work out as the all-rounder departed on 5 off just 6 balls, caught by Riley Rossouw on the ball of Carlos Brathwaite.
Islamabad opener, Alex Hales on the other hand started quite fiercely despite the fall of wickets. Shahid Afridi, however, broke the strong defence of the power hitter after he had scored 29 off 20 balls.
Shahid Afridi struck twice in the game to keep United under the belt. It started from Hales, then went on to Asif Ali who could only manage 9 of 9. The next on the list was Iftikhar Ahmed who was on one-off four balls, done and dusted by a straight hit to the stumps. These quick wickets turned the odds towards Sultans.
All-rounder, Faheem Ashraf came out swinging the bat and joined Lewis Gregory to make a crucial 43 runs standoff 30 balls that brought Islamabad close towards chasing the target.
Shahid Afridi lost a simple catch of Faheem Ashraf off the bowling of Carlos Brathwaite but it did not cost much as Faheem played the same loose shot in the same over of Carlos Brathwaite after scoring 22 off 12 balls.
As Faheem Ashraf departed, Gregory was the only hurdle standing between the victory of Multan. The all-rounder rolled his sleeves to accept the challenge before playing a thrilling unbeaten knock of 49 runs off 31 runs to ensure a three wickets victory for his side.
Shahid Afridi and Carlos Brathwaite were the top wicket-takers from Multan after picking up two wickets each.
Earlier, Multan’s skipper, Muhammad Rizwan played a blistering knock of 71 runs to continue his brilliant T20 form get going against United at National Stadium Karachi.
Islamabad United won the toss and asked Multan Sultans to bat first which did not start well for Sultans as they lost their veteran opener, Chris Lynn cheaply on one-off five after edging the ball to the keeper Phil Salt off the bowling of Faheem Ashraf.
James Vince was looking in fine touch after joining Rizwan but Lewis Gregory got the better of him after he scored 16 off 17 balls, caught by Faheem Ashraf.
Rilee Rossouw was looking to score big after he hit two consecutive sixers to Shabad Khan but the leg spinner took the revenge immediately after dismissing Rossouw on the very next ball that top-edged off the bat and landed safely into the hands of Mohammad Wasim, scored 25 off 14 balls.
Sultan further trembled as they lost two wickets in a quick session. Sohaib Maqsood and Khushdil Shah also fell cheaply while trying to lift the scoring rate but dismissed in the cause off the bowling of Mohammad Wasim and Lewis Gregory respectively.
While wickets kept feeling on the other side, Rizwan continued his masterclass innings with elegance. The skipper had scored 71 off 53 before getting bowled out by Mohammad Wasim.
The young gun then removed the all-rounder Shahid Afridi on a golden duck to help his side control the flow of runs at the last stage of the game.
Carlos Brathwaite helped Sultans with crucial innings of 22 off 14 balls to post the target of 150 at the end of 20 overs.
Mohammad Wasim was the highest wicket-taker after picking up three wickets at the cost of 29 runs in 4 overs.