LAHORE - Peshawar Zalmi failed to defend 240 runs or more for the second successive time as Multan Sultans won the 486-run thriller by four wickets to storm into the HBL Pakistan Super League 2023 playoffs here at Pindi Stadium on Friday. Rilee Rossouw stroked the fastest HBL PSL century off 41 balls, improving his own record by two balls, and Kieron Pollard blasted a 25-ball 52 as Multan Sultans achieved the 243-run target with five balls to spare. Multan Sultans needed 18 off two overs and three runs in the last over. Rossouw was dismissed when 16 runs were required off nine balls after a blistering 121 off 51 balls with 12 fours and eight sixes. He had reached his 50 off 17 balls with six fours and four sixes, and featured in three match-winning partnerships.
Together with Pollard, who slapped three fours and five sixes, Rossouw put on 99 runs for the third wicket in 43 balls after Mohammad Rizwan (5) and Shan Masood (7) were back in the hut at the score of 28.
For the fifth wicket with Khushdil Shah (18), Rossouw added 58 runs from 29 balls before he put on 21 off 13 with Anwar Ali (24*). After Rossouw’s departure, Usama Mir ensured the good work of the South African was not spoiled as he clubbed a four and a six in a three-ball 11 not out to bring another famous win for the 2021 champions. While this was a record HBL PSL run-chase, this is the jointsecond highest run-chase overall in T20 cricket. For Peshawar Zalmi, it was the second successive time they were unable to defend this sizeable score after Quetta Gladiators had achieved the 241- run target for the loss of two wickets with 10 balls to spare.
The result means Peshawar Zalmi can now progress to the playoffs if Quetta Gladiators lose to Multan Sultans today (Saturday) evening or they defeat Islamabad United on Sunday afternoon. Both matches are scheduled in Rawalpindi. Earlier, a Babar Azam masterclass, an attacking half-century by Saim Ayub and cameos by Tom KohlerCadmore and Mohammad Haris lifted Peshawar Zalmi to 242-6 after they had elected to bat first. Babar Azam slapped nine fours and two sixes in a 39-ball 73 while Saim Ayub clobbered five fours and four sixes in a 33- ball 58. The master and his disciple provided Peshawar Zalmi a 134-run start, which was fully capitalised on by Haris (35 off 11) and Kohler-Cadmore (38 off 18). Abbas Afridi registered figures of 4-0-39-4.