The Report by Deivarayan Muthu
Karachi Kings 183 for 6 (Livingstone 82, Babar 77, Green 3-32) beat Multan Sultans 176 for 9 (Malik 52, Evans 49, Amir 4-25) by seven runs
How the game played out
How did this even get this tight after Livingstone and Babar struck up a 157-run opening stand – the highest for any wicket in the league? After the fireworks at the top, Karachi’s innings fizzled out in the end as they lost 6 for 26 to be limited to 183 for 6.
Multan Sultans’ captain Shoaib Malik blitzed a 24-ball fifty – headlined by 4,4,4,4,6 off Ravi Bopara in the 14th over – and then former Karachi King Shahid Afridi and Hammad Azam threatened a late jailbreak in the chase. But Amir’s bag of slower cutters and rapid yorkers, combined with sharp catching in the outfield sealed Multan’s fate.
Livingstone and Babar teed off against the new ball on a pitch that got slower as the match progressed. They ran up 53 in the Powerplay and never looked back. Multan then managed only 38 for 1 in their first six overs.
When Multan needed 20 off the last two overs with five wickets in hand, they were in with a strong chance to script a come-from-behind win. But Amir got rid of Afridi and Azam in a four-run penultimate over to set Multan up for a narrow defeat.
Star of the day
The new kid on the block: Livingstone. He’s a star for Lancashire in the T20 Blast in England and even had an IPL contract with Rajasthan Royals before he forayed into the PSL. He regularly ventured down the track and upset the lines and lengths of Multan’s bowlers. The highlight of his 43-ball 82 was the breathtaking one-handed six off Mohammad Ilyas in the 14th over. When the seamer pitched one up on off, Livingstone’s bottom hand flew off the bat, but he still generated enough power to launch it over the long-off boundary with the top hand.
And oh, he even dared to step out against Afridi’s fizzing arm balls. One such advance down the pitch saw him drill Afridi over the sightscreen.
The big miss
Karachi’s collapse of 6 for 26. After the rollicking opening stand, they were well-placed to notch up a 200-plus total, but their middle order faltered against Chris Green’s offbreaks and the change-ups from Junaid Khan and Andre Russell. On another day, such a collapse might have cost them the game. However on this day, Amir saved them.
Where the teams stand
This is only the second game of the season. Karachi slotted in behind Islamabad United, who top the table by virtue of a superior run rate. Multan are right behind Karachi while Lahore Qalandars are at a familiar position: rock-bottom.