Shoaib Malik steers his side home to comfortable win
After being involved in high-scoring opening matches, Islamabad United and Multan Sultans played out a largely quiet encounter in terms of run-getting.
Luke Ronchi did what he does best —but the Sultans bowling gave their batting unit an easy target to chase.
Let’s take a look at some of the talking points from the game for both teams.
Superb bowling performance
After getting hammered all around the ground against Karachi Kings, the Multan bowlers came roaring back with an excellent bowling display. Ali Shafiq was the pick of the bowlers as Islamabad United were restricted to 125, with figures of 11-2 but Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Irfan also impressed.
Malik leading from the front
There came a point during Multan Sultans’ run-chase when things seemed to be getting out of hand. As the required run-rate climbed, it was captain Shoaib Malik’s anchoring knock that kept Sultans in the game. His unbeaten knock of 31 was crucial even if it was on the slow side.
Glimpses of Afridi’s and Russell’s firepower
When Andre Russell launched a Waqas Maqsood delivery into Row Z, he looked set to the finish the match in no time. However, he was bowled by United captain Mohammad Sami in the next over. Afridi too demonstrated some of his firepower and alongside Russell will be a daunting sight for any bowling unit.
Luke Ronchi’s form
Last season’s hero Luke Ronchi brought out the big guns today in his quickfire 51 off 33 deliveries before being dismissed by Afridi trying to hit him for a six. United will be pleased their star man is in the same touch that was crucial to United’s championship win last year.
Complete batting collapse
Once Ronchi departed, the United batting line-up collapsed completely. Multan Sultans’ bowlers kept picking up wickets to ensure that the innings found no momentum, and the Samit Patel-Faheem Ashraf partnership at the end proved to be too little, too late.
Bowlers put up a fight
Islamabad United can at least be a little pleased with their bowling performance. The bowlers were given just 126 to defend and did their best. United bowlers kept the scoreboard tight during the middle-overs and didn’t allow Multan batsmen to free their arms. Had the target been a little more competitive, this match may well have ended with a different result.