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Multan beats Peshawar by 7 wickets to reach fourth straight PSL final

Multan beats Peshawar by 7 wickets to reach fourth straight PSL final

KARACHI, Pakistan — Multan Sultans breezed into its fourth straight Pakistan Super League final by defeating Peshawar Zalmi by seven wickets in a lopsided qualifier on Thursday.

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Multan won Pakistan’s premier Twenty20 event in 2021 before losing to Lahore Qalandars in the finals of the last two editions.

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Babar Azam-led Peshawar will get another opportunity for a place in Monday’s final when it takes on the winner of the eliminator between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators on Saturday.

Opening batter Yasir Khan and in-form Usman Khan powered Multan to 147-3 in 18.3 overs after Peshawar was restricted to below-par 146-7.

In the absence of Afghanistan fast bowler Naveen-ul-Haq, who was ruled out of the playoffs because of his international commitment, Peshawar’s bowlers struggled to defend a small total.

Yasir provided a dominant opening stand of 61 with captain Mohammad Rizwan and raised a match-wining half-century off 30 balls. Left-arm spinner Mehran Mumtaz couldn’t make an impact in the power play before he finally had Yasir caught off his own bowling in his return spell.

Usman, who became the first batter in PSL history to score two centuries in one season, was hardly troubled with the pace, and Iftikhar Ahmed finished off the game with a quickfire 22 off eight balls.

Earlier, Peshawar struggled against pace and spin after Babar won the toss and elected to bat. David Willey had dangerman Saim Ayub caught at deep square leg in the first over and Mohammad Haris’ below-par tournament continued when he edged fast bowler Mohammad Ali inside the power play.

Babar, the tournament’s leading run-scorer, top-scored with 46 off 42 balls but spinners Usama Mir and Ahmed stifled the batters in the middle overs.

Chris Jordan had Babar clean bowled off a pacey yorker in the 13th over and the Englishman tied down batters in the death overs with his variations as Peshawar could score only 38 runs off the final five overs.

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