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Rossouw onslaught helps Multan Sultans beat Peshawar Zalmi

He hit a 36-ball 75 while Rizwan chipped in with a 42-ball 66 to record their second win of the tournament

Multan Sultans 210 for 3 (Rossouw 75, Rizwan 66, Irshad 2-38) beat Peshawar Zalmi 154 all out (Ayub 53, Haris 40, Mir 3-22) by 56 runs

Half centuries from Rilee Rossouw and Mohammad Rizwan helped Multan Sultans cruise past Peshawar Zalmi by 56 runs. Zalmi were punished for sloppiness in the field, while Rossouw, who had an indifferent SA20, is back to the brilliant best he seems to find every year at the PSL. A 36-ball 75, including a 75-run stand in 35 balls with fellow South African David Miller, helped the Sultans amass 210, the highest score in this year's PSL. Zalmi responded brightly for the first half of the chase, especially during an electric partnership between Mohammad Haris and Saim Ayub, but lost wickets in clumps, and in the end fell well short.

Zalmi had won the toss and opted to field, but while they kept Shan Masood relatively quiet in the Powerplay, Rizwan ensured they couldn't build much pressure. When Masood, who struggled for fluency in a scratchy 25-ball 20, got squeezed down leg, Rossouw arrived and with him came immediate impetus. He picked up where he'd left off against Quetta Gladiators 48 hours ago, and for ten overs between the ninth and the 18th, each one saw at least two boundaries struck.

The last 12 overs produced 149 runs, and while Rizwan and Miller were more than capable support acts, Rossouw batted like he needed no help whatsoever. No bowler was spared, even if regular misfields didn't help the Zalmi cause. At the death, the worst aspects of Wahab Riaz were also on display, overstepping twice in the 20th over and conceding 19 runs in the process.

Zalmi have a fair few entertaining hitters flanking Babar Azam, who fell early, with Sultans' golden boy Ihsanullah removing him with his first ball. It cleared the way for an exquisitely fun partnership between two of Pakistan's brightest T20 batting prospects. Haris looked every inch the Imran Nazir regeneration, slogging to all parts to keep up with the asking rate. Ayub feels a bit more classical in his shot making, though equally destructive. While Sultans allowed them pace on the ball, the duo flayed them to all parts, and by the end of the eighth over, they were 20 runs ahead of where the Sultans were at that stage.

But it's difficult to replicate Rossouw's sustained power, and the pivotal moment came in the ninth over. The fielding has been ragged at this year's PSL so far, but a lovely stop and direct hit by Abbas Afridi caught Haris out at the non-striker's end. From thereon, the Sultans never relinquished their dominance. Tom Kohler-Cadmore holed out cheaply, Ayub and Rovman Powell kept hopes alive with a flurry of fours and sixes, but then five wickets in 16 balls killed the game off entirely. The extra runs an enfeebled bowling attack allowed now felt insurmountable all of the sudden, and the last seven wickets fell for 24 runs.

Fittingly, it was Ihsanullah who bookended the wickets column, taking the last wicket just as he had the first. He backed up his magical performance on Wednesday with figures of 3 for 24 to take an early lead in the PSL wicket-takers chart, and helped give the Sultans another win - as well as another healthy net run rate boost.

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