With Josh Little and Shahnawaz Dahani out, Multan Sultans’ pace attack was supposed to be their Achilles heel, but Quetta Gladiators were defeated by 110 runs (Roy 27, Hasnain 22, Thushara 1-21). Ihsanullah, a 20-year-old Pakistani pace bowler, is the next on the pace bowling conveyor belt. With figures of 4-1-12-5, he bowled the Quetta Gladiators out for 110. Rilee Rossouw scored an unbeaten 78 off 42 balls for Sultans, who ran away with a nine-wicket victory with 6.3 overs remaining and improved their net run rate in the process.
The team that won the toss brought the opposition into the game for the third time in a row, with Sarfaraz Ahmed inviting Mohammad Rizwan’s Sultans to bat first. However, the out-of-form Martin Guptill and Abdul Bangalzai holed out to midfield early on, putting Gladiators in trouble. With a rejuvenated Sarfaraz now out in the middle, Gladiators needed a partnership as Jason Roy appeared to be finding touch.
Ihsanullah, however, made fun of the idea by cutting off his third delivery faster than Sarfaraz. In his second over, he went one better when Roy made a mistake and hit one to mid-off. Then, in what would end up being a double-wicket maiden, the talented Iftikhar Ahmed was caught square in front. With extra bounce kissing the outside edge of one ball after Usama Mir had trapped Mohammad Nawaz in front, Umar Akmal, rusty at this level, was no match for the speedster. Ihsanullah scored his fifth victory as Naseem Shah witnessed his off-stump rock back, giving him a taste of his own medicine. His figures at that point read 2.4-1-3-5.
It came down to Mohammad Hafeez being mysteriously elevated to the team’s roster a few days ago and similarly mysteriously downgraded to position eight. Instead, Sultans 111 won thanks to Mohammad Hasnain’s brief cameo, which got Gladiators past 100 before always stealing off to the keeper.
Nuwan Thushara found swing early in the second innings, which led to Shan Masood’s wicket in the second over. However, Rossouw quickly discredited Gladiators’ hopes that would turn this game into a low-scoring contest. Sultans were activated by four boundaries off Thushara in succession, and the assault only intensified. As soon as he had brought his half-century, the chase became routine.
On the other end, Rizwan was content to be a passenger. His unbeaten 34-ball 28 mostly consisted of giving the South African the strike. The net run rate was the Sultans’ only concern at this point, and Rossouw wanted to make sure they got off to the best possible start. With Rossouw on strike and 14 required, he scored an overthrow that brought him back on track, followed by two sixes in a row that put the Gladiators out of their misery.
Quetta Gladiators 110 all out (Roy 27, Hasnain 22, Thushara 1-21)
Multan Sultans 111 for 1 (Rossouw 78*, Rizwan 28*, Ihsanullah 5-12)
The Multan Sultans defeated the Quetta Gladiators by nine wickets in a dominant display of cricket in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The Gladiators won the toss and invited the Sultans to bat first, but their pace attack, weakened by the absence of Josh Little and Shahnawaz Dahani, struggled to make an impact. The Sultans posted an impressive total of 111 for 1, with Rilee Rossouw scoring an unbeaten 78 off 42 balls and Mohammad Rizwan adding 28 not out. In response, the Gladiators were bowled out for just 110, with Ihsanullah, a 20-year-old Pakistani pace bowler, taking an impressive five wickets for just 12 runs.
The Gladiators’ decision to bowl first seemed to backfire as the Sultans got off to a good start. However, the Gladiators’ bowlers managed to dismiss Martin Guptill and Abdul Bangalzai early on. With Sarfaraz Ahmed now in the middle, the Gladiators needed a partnership to build a decent total. Jason Roy showed some form, but Ihsanullah cut short his innings by taking his wicket in his second over. Ihsanullah then went on to take two more wickets in the same over, including the important wicket of Iftikhar Ahmed. Usama Mir then took the wicket of Mohammad Nawaz, and Umar Akmal fell to Ihsanullah’s pace. Ihsanullah finished with impressive figures of 5 wickets for just 12 runs in four overs. The Gladiators’ innings ended with a brief cameo from Mohammad Hasnain, who scored 22 runs off 14 balls, helping them to a total of 110 all out.
Nuwan Thushara found some swing early in the second innings and took the wicket of Shan Masood in the second over. However, Rossouw quickly took control of the game, scoring four boundaries in succession off Thushara. As soon as Rossouw brought up his half-century, the chase became a routine one. Rizwan played a supporting role, mainly giving Rossouw the strike as he hit boundaries at will. The Sultans’ only concern was their net run rate, and Rossouw made sure they got off to the best possible start. With 14 runs required and Rossouw on strike, he scored an overthrow that brought him back on track, followed by two sixes in a row to end the game.
The match between Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans turned out to be a one-sided affair, with Sultans emerging as the clear winners. The star of the match was young Pakistani pacer Ihsanullah, who took 5 wickets and bowled out the Gladiators for just 110 runs. Rilee Rossouw’s unbeaten 78 helped Sultans chase down the target with ease, and Mohammad Rizwan’s contribution of 28* ensured a comfortable victory for his team.
The match highlighted the importance of having a strong pace attack, as Sultans’ weakness in this area was supposed to be their downfall. However, Ihsanullah proved to be a game-changer and showcased his talent on the big stage. On the other hand, Gladiators will need to improve their batting and overall performance if they want to compete with the other teams in the tournament.
Overall, the match was a thrilling display of cricket, with some excellent individual performances and team efforts on display. It is yet another reminder of the exciting and unpredictable nature of T20 cricket, where any team can win on their day.