Multan scored 111 runs in 14 overs.

Multan Sultans staged a strong comeback in the HBL Pakistan Super League 8 on Wednesday, with Ihsanullah scything down the Quetta Gladiators batting order to aid them to a nine-wicket win at the Multan Cricket Stadium.

Ihsanullah’s superb pace bowling earned him five for twelve in four overs, with 16 of his 24 deliveries being dots. These are the second greatest stats for a Multan Sultans bowler in the tournament, after only Umar Gul’s six for 24 against the same opposition in 2018.

The 20-year-old right-hander was tremendously quick and consistently hit the decent length, keeping batters guessing whether to commit on the front or back foot. He bowled so viciously that he took all five wickets in 16 balls.

Ihsanullah, who hails from Khyber Agency in Pakistan’s northwestern region, joined the HBL PSL 8 in good form. The fast bowler was the top fast bowler (and second best overall) in the Pakistan Cup 2022-23, taking 25 wickets in 11 matches with a strike rate of less than 20.

The Quetta Gladiators got off to a shaky start, with Martin Guptill falling to Sameen Gul in the second over and Abdul Wahid Bangalzai falling to Abbas Afridi in the fifth. Their difficulties were exacerbated when Ihsanullah entered the fray, bowling Sarfaraz Ahmed in his first over, the sixth of the innings.

The highlight of the encounter came in the eighth over, when Ihsanullah dismissed Jason Roy, the highest run-scorer in the innings with 27 off 18, and Iftikhar Ahmed on back-to-back deliveries, reducing the visitors to 46 for five.

Mohammad Nawaz and Umar Akmal tried to steady the ship with a 20-run stand in 4.3 overs, but when the former was trapped LBW by Usama Mir’s leg-spin, who was the best bowler in the aforementioned Pakistan Cup and recently made his debut for Pakistan in the ODI series against New Zealand, the floodgates opened once more.

The next ball, the first of the 13th, Ihsanullah had Umar limping back to the pavilion, and three balls later, he rocked Naseem Shah’s stumps to register his maiden five-fer in the format.

Quetta Gladiators managed 110 before being bowled out with seven balls to spare. Mohammad Hasnain, who hit 22, was their second highest scorer, with Sameen and Abbas each taking two wickets.

The home side breezed through the run chase, crossing the mark in just 13.3 overs. However, there was an early hitch when Nuwan Thushara hit Shan Masood on pads in front of stumps at the start of the second over, but after that, it was easy sailing for Multan Sultans.

In the fourth over, Rilee Rossouw, playing his first match of the season, took the game away by smashing Thushara for four straight fours. He hit his ninth HBL PSL half-century, finishing with 78 not out off 42 balls, while Multan Sultans captain Mohammad Rizwan added 28 off 34 balls to complete a 108-run unbeaten partnership.

Multan Sultans’ sixth win over Quetta Gladiators in 10 matches.