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Sultans in trouble as top-order returns

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SHARJAH: Luke Ronchi and Alex Hales powered Multan Sultans to post a 186-run target against Islamabad United on Tuesday.

Maintaining his fiery form, Ronchi cemented solid basis for the United to reach a high-scoring total as he scored his third half-century in the tournament. The Kiwi batsman was well assisted by Alex Hales and middle-order batsmen, Asif Ali and Hussain Talat.

Umar Gul took two and Imran Tahir took one wicket for United. 

Second Innings

Spinner Samit Patel gave an ideal start to United as he bowled a double-wicket over by striking down Kumar Sangakkara and Saif Badar.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf and Amad Butt ended innings of Ahmed Shehzad and Sohaib Maqsood respectively, while Shadab Khan dismissed Sultans' skipper Malik.    

First Innings 

Multan Sultans won the toss and elected to field in their match against Islamabad United tonight. 

A direct hit by Shoaib Malik ended opener United's opener JP Duminy's (6) time on the crease. The early setback was diluted by Luke Ronchi as he played a knock of 58 runs off 36 balls, including six boundaries and three sixes on the strike rate of 161.11.

The Kiwi batsman was dismissed by legspinner Imran Tahir as he tried to slog sweep.

Alex Hales gave an easy catch to Sohaib Maqsood at the cover area when the team score was on 126.

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United's emerging top-order batsman Hussain Talat (36) returned to the pavilion as Kieron Pollard took his catch. A blitz of four boundaries and one six came to an end. 

Skipper Malik confirmed that his team has made two changes in their squad as Junaid Khan and Hardus Viljoen were rested; Ross Whiteley and Umar Gul are in.

Meanwhile, United has also made two changes as Alex Hales and Imad Butt came in for the respective places of Steven Finn and Zafar Gohar

Islamabad XI: AD Hales, L Ronchi, JP Duminy, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Misbah-ul-Haq, SR Patel, Shadab Khan, Amad Butt, Mohammad Sami.

Multan XI: KC Sangakkara, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, KA Pollard, Saif Badar, RA Whiteley, Sohail Tanvir, Imran Tahir, Mohammad Irfan, Umar Gul.

Islamabad are in red-hot form, with five wins in seven matches so far. Their victory streak began from a dramatic win against Lahore Qalandars in Super Over thriller, after which the Reds defeated Karachi Kings, Lahore (again) and Peshawar Zalmi to secure 10 points and joint-top position with Quetta Gladiators on the points table. 

Misbah's side has been further boosted by the inclusion of England batsmen Alex Hales and Sam Billings, who joined the squad in UAE following the end of the series in New Zealand. 

Multan, however, look shaky at fourth spot. After a flying start to their PSL campaign, the team has been languishing and needs to win tonight to consolidate their place in the top four.


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