Ihsanullah (L) celebrates the wicket of Sarfaraz Ahmed (C) during the Pakistan Super League match at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Wednesday night. AFP
Unheralded fast bowler Ihsanullah picked up 5-12 and Rilee Rossouw smashed a rapid 78 in the Multan Sultans’ nine-wicket win over the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Ihsanullah consistently troubled Quetta’s top-order batters by clocking over 145kph as the 2019 champions were bowled out for 110 in 18.5 overs in their opening game of the season.
Rossouw then racked up an unbeaten half century as Multan raced to their first win in the tournament by reaching 111-1 with more than six overs to spare. The South African led the run-chase off 42 balls by smashing nine fours and three sixes and captain Mohammad Rizwan remained unbeaten on 28.
Shan Masood missed out when he was trapped leg before wicket by Sri Lankan Nuwan Thushara before Rossouw led the run-charge with his aggressive batting in an unbeaten century-stand with Rizwan.
Multan ace fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani was ruled out of the tournament because of a finger injury he sustained during a one-run loss to the Lahore Qalandars on Monday.
Fellow rookie fast bowler Abbas Afridi, who replaced Dahani in the playing XI, picked up 2-27 while paceman Sameen Gul finished with 2-20 as Quetta batters had no answer to Multan’s pace.
Ihsanullah, playing in his second PSL season, used his sharp pace and bounce after Rizwan won the toss and elected to field for the second home game in a row.
New Quetta signing Martin Guptill of New Zealand fell to a tame pull shot for just seven in only the second over before Ihsanullah sliced through the long batting lineup by clean bowling Sarfaraz Ahmed not long after dropping the Quetta skipper at short fine-leg.
Ihsanullah then had top-scorer Jason Roy (27) caught at mid-off and trapped Iftikhar Ahmed out leg before wicket for a golden duck off a delivery that nipped back sharply into the right-hander.
Quetta was in danger of getting bowled out for less than 100 when it was reduced to 68-8 after Pakistan leg-spinner Usama Mir had Mohammad Nawaz leg before wicket and then Ihsanullah got a thick outside edge of Umar Akmal’s bat off another brilliant short delivery before knocking the top of Naseem Shah’s off stump.
Mohammad Hafeez made 18 and Mohammad Hasnain scored 22 off 20 balls for Quetta before both were caught behind to give Rizwan three catches behind the stumps. Two-time champion Islamabad United opens their campaign on Thursday against the Karachi Kings.