Multan Sultans have qualified for their first Pakistan Super League final (PSL) after beating two-time champions Islamabad United by 31 runs in the play-offs on Monday.
Islamabad get another chance to reach the final when they take on Peshawar Zalmi on Tuesday. Peshawar scored a five-wicket win over the Karachi Kings, with just one delivery left in the first of the knockout finals.
Sohaib Maqsood’s 59 and Khushdil Shah’s 42 off 22 balls spurred Multan to 180-5 after captain Mohammad Rizwan was sacked without pressure.
Islamabad, known for its chases, fell at the pace of Sohail Tanvir (3-17) and Zimbabwean swing bowler Blessing Muzarabani (3-31) and were bowled out for 149 with a lead.
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Left-side seam bowler Tanvir hit the middle stump of in-form Colin Munro for a duck from his second delivery and returned to get the key wicket from Usman Khawaja, who threatened to take down the game from Multan with a brilliant knocks off 70 off 40 balls.
Khawaja, who plays Test cricket for Australia but is the only player in the United squad in Islamabad, completed his half-century of 33 balls and crushed Muzarabani for six and three consecutive goals in the 14th over.
But Tanvir returned in the next over and Shah hung on to a well-judged catch at deep midwifery to fire Khawaja.
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Earlier, after choosing to bat first, Maqsood earned a fourth half-century this season. The discarded Pakistan international scored four fours and three sixes to save Multan.
Islamabad captain Shadab Khan picked up both his wickets in the first over when he had Shan Masood and Rilee Rossouw in his leg before and Multan slipped to 59-3 in the eighth over.
But Maqsood added a quick 63 with Johnson Charles hitting a quick 41 of three fours and three sixes.
Shah maintained the momentum when he beat young fast bowler Akif Javed for 29 runs in the penultimate series, with four consecutive sixes and a four.
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In the later match, Karachi batted first and placed 175-7, with Babar Azam scoring 53 at the top of the points table, and Thisara Perera belting three sixes when he reached 37 off 18 balls in the middle.
Hazratullah Zazai anchored the run chase for Peshawar in a player-of-the-match innings and struck out five sixes and ten fours as he plundered Karachi’s attack for 77 of 38 deliveries. He dominated the partnerships of 49 with Kamran Akmal and 43 with Imam-ul-Haq for the first two wickets and lifted Peshawar to 103-3 when he was dismissed in the 12th over.
Shoaib Malik (30) maintained the momentum for Peshawar until his dismissal in the penultimate over.
The winner of Tuesday’s second eliminator will face Multan in the final on Thursday.