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Islamabad United overcome Pollard special to reach play-off

Kieron Pollard waged a lone fight for Multan Sultans in the chase
Kieron Pollard waged a lone fight for Multan Sultans in the chase

Islamabad United 185-4 (Ronchi 58) beat
Multan Sultans 152 (Pollard 73) by 33 runs
25th game, Pakistan Super League, Sharjah

Kieron Pollard's 73-run knock did not prove enough as Multan Sultans succumbed to a 33-run defeat against Islamabad United in their final group stage encounter of the Pakistan Super League in Sharjah.

The result also meant Islamabad United along with Quetta Gladiators have progressed to the top four with 12 and 10 points respectively while Multan will now hope Peshawar Zalmi to lose one of their remaining two games to make it to the next stage after ending with nine points.

Multan won the toss and decided to bowl first. Luke Ronchi (58) kick-started the proceedings with three apiece of sixes and boundaries in the first four overs to take Islamabad to 44 for naught but a struggling JP Duminy (6) was run out at the other end in the next over.

Alex Hales (46) on his first outing this season hit back to back boundaries to take the score to 54 for one at the end of the powerplay. Ronchi went on to complete his third fifty in four games, taking just 26 deliveries for it and at halfway mark, Islamabad went on to reach 87 for one.

Imran Tahir (1-29) provided respite for Multan when he snared Ronchi but Hales plundered Ross Whiteley (0-45) for two sixes in the 12th over while late surges from Hussain Talat (36), Asif Ali (17 not out) and Faheem Ashraf (13 not out) helped Islamabad post 185 for four in the 20 overs.

Multan got off to a terrible start in the chase with Samit Patel (2-11) removing both Kumar Sangakkara (1) and Saif Badar (0) in the first over. Things went from bad to worse for Multan as Ahmed Shehzad (3), Sohaib Maqsood (13) and Shoaib Malik (12) all fell in quick succession.

With wickets tumbling at the other end, Pollard (71) was settling in and was going at less than run a ball and with a massive 81 runs needed off the final five overs, he decided to step up the gear. He helped Multan amass 33 runs off the next two overs that put Islamabad under some pressure but eventually holed out in the deep in the 18th over as they succumbed to a 33-run defeat.

Ronchi was awarded the player of the match as Islamabad move to the top of the table.

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