Shoaib Malik-led Multan Sultans’ fate in the debut appearance hinged on their last match against second-placed Islamabad United in Sharjah on Tuesday, a win will take them to the last four but a defeat will put them on the verge of an exit from the Pakistan Super League.
The sixth and the newest team promised a lot by defeating the title holders Peshawar Zalmi in their opening match but after two wins they were brought down to earth by Islamabad in the first round in a match they were shot out for a paltry 113. Spearheads Rumman Raees (3-14), Mohammad Sami (2-19) and Andre Russell two wickets had rocked the formidable Multan batting.
Since then Multan Sultans had lost three more matches and with nine points in nine matches, they face a do-or-die in their last game. In case of a defeat, Multan will pray that Peshawar Zalmi lose one of their two matches so that they go through to the last four.
Lahore Qalandars are already out of contention for a play-off place.
Malik hoped Multan Sultans solve the riddle of what’s going wrong with them, having a formidable batting line up with Kumar Sangakkara, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Kieron Pollard and himself while Imran Tahir, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir and Junaid Khan in bowling.
“It will be a good thing for our team to sit and talk about and come up with better plans,” Malik said after a defeat against Lahore.
Asked what went wrong with Multan who at one point were leading the table.
“Honestly speaking, even I have been trying and our whole coaching staff is trying to find where the problem lies,” said Malik.
Like the first edition in which Islamabad United won the title, Misbah-ul-Haq led team were slow starters but are now well placed to finish on top of the table with three games left and ten points to show.
After losing to Peshawar Zalmi in their inaugural match Islamabad United beat Multan, lost to Quetta but since their tied match and win in Super Over against with Lahore Qalandars, they have won three matches in a row.
United’s spearhead and vice-captain Rumman Raees is still nursing a leg injury and will not be available for the rest of the tournament but England’s top Twenty20 players Alex Hales and Sam Billings have arrived to bolster the batting.
Quetta Gladiators are top on the table with ten points and a better net run-rate.