Imran Tahir hat-trick helps Multan Sultans thrash Quetta Gladiators by nine wickets

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Tahir picked up a hat-trick in Sharjah. Pic courtesy: @thePSLt20/Twitter.

Multan Sultans recorded a thumping nine-wicket victory over Quetta Gladiators for their third win in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Put into bat first after the Sultans skipper Shoaib Malik won the toss, the Gladiators were bundled out for just 102 in under 16 overs with only Shane Watson (19), Sarfraz Ahmed (30) and Mahmudullah (15) managing to get into double figures.

In reply, the Multan Sultans coasted to victory, losing only wicket in the process as Kumar Sangakkara remained unbeaten on 51.

Here are the key moments from Saturday’s clash at Sharjah.

TANVIR AND JUNAID ROCK QUETTA

After Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Tanvir started excellently with the ball, the pressure grew on Quetta’s openers. It eventually told when Umar Amin slashed Tanvir straight into the hands of third-man in the fourth over.

With the very first delivery of the next over, Junaid Khan bowled Rameez Raja Jr to reduce Quetta to 28-2. When Watson holed out in the deep while trying to pull Junaid, the top-order was back in the pavilion for not a lot.

TAHIR’S HAT-TRICK CLEANS UP THE TAIL

Quetta were 108-7 when leg-spinners Imran Tahir bowled the 16th over. The South African cleaned up Hasan Khan’s stumps with his second delivery and then did the same to John Hastings in the subsequent ball as the Australian failed to read the wrong-one.

The veteran leg-spinner went on his trademark celebratory run before returning to the crease for his hat-trick ball where Rahat Ali stood in front of him. Tahir pinned him on the crease with a skidder and went off on another exuberant celebratory run as the umpire raised his finger, resulting in the third hat-trick in PSL history.

HASAN KHAN TRIES HARD

Defending a paltry 102, the task for the Quetta Gladiators’ bowlers was difficult. They failed to find much joy though, as Multan batsmen played risk-free cricket.

Quetta’s only wicket came in the 11th over when Ahmed Shehzad ventured down the track to Hasan Khan but miscued his shot to long-on.

SANGAKKARA STEERS CHASE EXPERTLY

With big hits not required, Multan opener Sangakkara made full use of his experience to anchor the innings.

The elegant left-hander stuck to orthodox shots as he notched up an unbeaten half-century with the help of five crisp hits to the fence. The experienced batsman never gave a sniff of an opportunity to the Quetta bowlers.

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Bowler-friendly PSL a welcome relief in six-infested world of T20 leagues

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The Pakistan Super League is a unique cricket product. The tournament is split across the UAE and Pakistan and is at the forefront of the latter’s attempt to bring meaningful international cricket back in the country.

On the cricket field, another aspect separates PSL from other premier T20 leagues in the world. And that’s team scores, or more specifically low totals.

T20 cricket is synonymous with big hitting, massive sixes and whirlwind knocks where bowlers pretty much wander around as glorified bowling machines.

In last year’s Indian Premier League, by far the most prominent T20 league in the world, teams reached or crossed 180 on 32 occasions out of 60 matches. In the Big Bash League this season, the total of 180 was reached or crossed 17 times in 43 matches.

The T20 blast in England had a staggering 26 scores of 200 or more this season. The Bangladesh Premier League had 14 instances of team totals crossing 180. The Caribbean Premier League is the only other exception, with four totals more than 180 in 2017.

In two seasons and a bit in the PSL, 180 has been crossed 10 times. That’s 10 times in more than 60 matches across three seasons. IPL and BBL cross this mark halfway through a single season.

There are two distinct reasons for such numbers. Firstly, the wickets in this time of the year in the UAE are not the flattest to bat on. Intermittent rain and sluggish surfaces in Sharjah and sometimes in Dubai during the beginning of the year result in bowlers, be it fast bowlers or spinners, having a greater say in proceedings than bowlers in, say, Bangalore or Brisbane.

Also, Pakistan’s core strength remains bowling – pace bowling in particular – and that means most teams have a greater pool of homegrown quality bowlers than hard-hitting all-rounders or attacking openers.

This season in the PSL, no team has reached 180 so far. The match between Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars in Sharjah on Friday is a case in point, with Islamabad beating Lahore in a Super Over after stopping the Qalandars from overhauling their total of 121.

When you look at major T20 leagues across the world, the six-hitting spectacle becomes a bit stale after one point. Fifties and even some centuries, in the case of IPL, are forgotten as there are just so many of them. But every batsman who crosses 50 in the PSL knows he has earned every bit of it on tricky wickets against world class bowling.

Just ask Kiwi batting stalwart Brendon McCullum. ‘Baz’ averaged 13.2 in the PSL last season and dragged his season average to 27 this year after a hard-fought 34 in the Super Over match against Islamabad.

And that is what sets PSL apart from the rest of the pack. In a world intent on devouring every last bit of confidence in bowlers by sending them to the abattoir of Twenty20, PSL is a safe haven for those who make their living hurling a cricket ball.

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Jofra Archer out of PSL with side strain, Quetta Gladiators call up Ben Laughlin as replacement

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Archer has flown back home to recuperate.

In a big blow to the Quetta Gladiators, Jofra Archer was ruled out of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) due to a side strain.

The West Indies all-rounder had come into the tournament with huge expectations riding on his back following his stellar performances in various T20 leagues around the world.

He was supposed to play four matches for the Quetta franchise in the tournament being held in the UAE but has now returned home after playing in only two.

The Gladiators posted a video message on Twitter where the 22-year-old waved his goodbyes to the franchise.

“Speed sensation Jofra Archer waves goodbye. Sad he could only play two out of four matches due to side strain. See you soon JOF,” the post read.

The Caribbean all-rounder will now be targeting getting back to peak fitness for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) where he was bought for $1.13 million by the Rajasthan Royals.

Quetta Gladiators have called up Australian pacer Ben Laughlin as a replacement for the injured Archer.

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