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Cricket news - Livingstone, Babar and Amir get Karachi off the mark

Babar Azam (file pic) scored a brisk fifty.

Karachi Kings vs Multan Sultans

Karachi Kings got their PSL 2019 campaign off to a winning start with a narrow seven-run defeat of Multan Sultans. Liam Livingstone and Babar Azam starred in the victory by smashing brisk half-centuries in a 157-run opening stand while Mohammad Amir returned 4 for 25 to keep a spirited Multan chase at bay. Karachi nearly let their vice-like grip on the game slip on two occasions, one in each innings, before regaining control each time to get their season underway with a win.

Imad Wasim's decision to bat was vindicated as Livingstone and Babar, fresh of a sparkling series in South Africa, began in rapid fashion. Despite striking at a healthy Strike Rate of 130, Babar's innings (77 off 59) was overshadowed by Livingstone's, a 43-ball knock that included half-a-dozen sixes and an equal number of fours. Livingstone had a hundred for the taking when he was dismissed was 82 in the 16th over. Karachi, then on 157, then suffered an inexplicable batting implosion adding a mere 26 runs to their total to finish at 183 for 6. Chris Green claimed 3 for 32 for Multan.

Where they should have been buoyed at their recovery job and translated that into a sprightly chase, Multan went the opposite route. They scored at just over a run-a-ball in the first eight overs of the chase before captain Malik arrived at the crease after the fall of the second wicket. He put on 72 for the third wicket with Laurie Evans (49 off 39) before a run-out ended the latter's stay. Amir then dealt the crucial blows to remove Andre Russell and Shahid Afridi leaving Malik with all to do. He was eventually dismissed for 52 off 28 although the equation soon reduced to a very gettable 20 off 12. Amir and Sohail Khan closed out the game without much ado.

Brief scores: Karachi Kings 183/6 in 20 overs (Liam Livingstone 82, Babar Azam 77; Chris Green 3-32) beat Multan Sultans 176/9 in 20 overs (Shoaib Malik 52, Laurie Evans 49; Mohammad Amir 4-25) by seven runs.

Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators

Quetta Gladiators began their PSL 2019 campaign with a clinical six-wicket victory over Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai. Umar Akmal starred for the Gladiators, hitting an unbeaten 75 in a chase of 156 after the bowlers had done a fine job of restricting Zalmi to a modest total.

Put in to bat first, Zalmi lost opener Andre Fletcher cheaply but Kamran Akmal combined with Shoaib Maqsood for a 64-run partnership for the second wicket to put Zalmi's innings back on track again. Kamran was the aggressor in the partnership, but still missed out on a half-century by one run. The pair fell in quick succession, but Misbah-ul-Haq took it upon himself to revive the team in the second half.

The veteran hit two sixes and four boundaries in his 32-ball knock worth 49 not out. He put on an unbroken 53-run stand stand with Liam Dawson for the fifth wicket but despite the late hitting, Zalmi were restricted to 155/4 from their allotted overs.

Hasali Ali, in return, rocked Gladiators chase off the very first ball by trapping Ahmed Shehzad leg-before wicket. Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw got the chase underway with a brief 34-run alliance. The Australian all-rounder was dismissed after having contributed just 19 to the cause, bringing Umar to the crease.

Playing his maiden game for the new franchise, Umar shouldered the responsibility of the chase as the other set batsman - Rossouw - after fell for 19. Umar and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed stitched a 62-run partnership to all but seal the fate of the game. Umar raised his half-century off 35 deliveries, soon after which the partnership was broken by Wahab Riaz. Sarfraz, who had hit three boundaries and a six in his brief stay, drove straight into the hands of Darren Sammy at cover.

However, with Umar well set, Gladiators were hardly troubled. With 13 required off 12 balls, Dwayne Smith hit a couple of boundaries in the penultimate over to lend some finishing touches while Akmla, fittingly, sealed it with a six.

Brief scores: Peshawar Zalmi 155/4 in 20 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 49*, Kamran Akmal 49; Mohammad Nawaz 2-25) lost to Quetta Gladiators 161/4 in 19.4 overs (Umar Akmal 75*, Sarfraz Ahmed 37; Wahab Riaz 2-18) by six wickets.

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