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Babar leads Karachi to 7-wicket win over Multan in PSL

Babar Azam hit his second successive half century in the Pakistan Super League and anchored Karachi Kings to a seven-wicket win over Multan Sultans on Saturday.

Babar’s unbeaten 90 off 60 balls — including 13 fours and a six — led Karachi to 198-3 with seven balls to spare in yet another successful chase in Pakistan’s premier Twenty20 league.

All nine league matches in this season’s PSL have been won by the teams chasing, including four successful chases of 190-plus runs.

Karachi Kings' Joe Clarke, center, plays a shot while Multan Sultans' Mohammad Rizwan watches during a Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans at the National Stadium, in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP PhotoFareed Khan)

Multan had earlier spoiled a blistering start and were restricted to 195-6 as Karachi skipper Imad Wasim followed a familiar script of captains putting the opposition into bat after winning the toss.

“Credit goes to the bowlers first,” Wasim said. “The way we finished at the end was fantastic. We saved almost 15-20 runs at the death.”

Englishman Joe Clarke (54 off 26 balls) took the game away from Multan by combining in an electrifying stand of 97 runs with Babar.

Multan Sultans' Chris Lynn plays a shot during a Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans at the National Stadium, in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP PhotoFareed Khan)

Clarke smashed four sixes against spinners Shahid Afridi and Khushdil Shah and also hit three boundaries in his robust half century before he was caught at short fine leg while attempting to ramp a slow bouncer from Shanawaz Dhani (2-28).

Babar led Karachi to its second win in three games with a six and two fours in succession against fast bowler Sohail Khan in the penultimate over.

Earlier, Multan failed to cash in on Chris Lynn’s robust start (32 off 14 balls) and were cruising along at 72-1 in the first six overs of batting powerplay.

Karachi Kings' Arshad Iqbal, center, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Multan Sultans' James Vince during a Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans at the National Stadium, in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP PhotoFareed Khan)

James Vince (45) and skipper Mohammad Rizwan (43) both fell in successive overs of fast bowler Arshad Iqbal (2-36) as Multan slipped to 133-3 in the 14th over.

Karachi came back strongly in the last five overs with their fast bowlers leaking only one boundary. Left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who earlier started with a maiden over, bowled seven wide balls in his next three overs but got the dangerman Shahid Afridi (3) in the 19th over to finish with 1-34.

After its third loss, Multan slipped to fifth in six-team event with a solitary win against Lahore Qalandars, who are due to meet Islamabad United in Saturday’s other league match.

Multan Sultans' James Vince plays a shot during a Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans at the National Stadium, in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (AP PhotoFareed Khan)

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