Usman Khan smashed a 50-ball 81 © PCB
Quetta Gladiators finally managed to open their account on the points tally with a 22-run victory over Multan Sultans, successfully defending 176 for 7, courtesy Usman Khan’s blinder upfront.
Put in to bat first, Usman kicked off with a nine-run over and launched a flurry of boundaries to take the Gladiators to 55 without loss in the powerplay. He dominated the 69-run opening stand with Sain Ayub, who himself hit a couple of boundaries and a six in his 18-ball 23. Usman again dominated his 53-run partnership with Faf du Plessis (17), falling just 19 short of a hundred in the 14th over. It was Imran Tahir once again, getting Sultans the breakthrough.
Usman had set up Gladiators for a strong finish but his untimely wicket slowed them down. Shahnawaz Dhani picked three in the death overs – including Ben Cutting (20 off 10) – to keep Gladiators down to just 176 for 7.
Sultans were cruising early in the chase when in-form Mohammad Rizwan and James Vince took them off to a flier with a 63-run opening stand in eight overs. However, Qais Ahmad triggered a collapse by not just getting past the threatening opening stand but also picking two more wickets in his successive overs to finish with figures of 3 for 21 from his four overs.
Rizwan held one end up, hitting two sixes and seven boundaries in his 50-ball 66 that kept Sultans in the hunt as long as he was in the middle. His wicket in the 18th over, however, led to the inevitable as Sultans folded for 154. Zahid Mahmood and Mohammad Hasnain picked two apiece, while Dale Steyn opened his account with what turned out to be the last ball of the game.
Brief scores: Quetta Gladiators 176/7 in 20 overs (Usman Khan 81; Shahnawaz Dhani 3-44, Imran Tahir 2-29) beat Multan Sultans 154 in 19.4 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 66, James Vince 24; Qais Ahmad 3-21, Mohammad Hasnain 2-34) by 22 runs.