PSL 2019: Karachi Kings debutant Liam Livingstone helps inspire win over Multan Sultans

Shoaib Malik's Multan give Karachi scare before losing on Friday in Dubai by seven runs

Karachi's Liam Livingstone top scored for his side with 82 off 43 balls in their match with Multan Sultans. Image courtesy of Pakistan Cricket Board
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When Liam Livingstone took the crease for his Pakistan Super League debut on Friday afternoon, relatively few in the Dubai International Stadium, or watching the TV broadcast might have been aware of his merits.

Only avid followers of English cricket would have known of his power hitting for Lancashire and, in two appearances in Twenty20 internationals so far, for England.

A little over 15 overs later, though, he had become the PSL’s newest star. His violent 43-ball 82 was quite the introduction to his new franchise, Karachi Kings, who ended up being thankful for their blazing start in a nervy, seven-run win against Multan Sultans.

One straight six, that crunched into the advertising display above the Royal Box, might even had met with the approval of Shahid Afridi – had the pyrotechnic all-rounder not been bowling at the time.

Livingstone hit six sixes in all, as well as six other boundaries besides.

“We watched him in the nets the other day, and I was really impressed by his power,” Mickey Arthur, the Kings coach, said of Livingstone.

“He played superbly, it was a really good debut for him. He goes to Rajasthan Royals [for the Indian Premier League], but this was his first trip into a franchise league.

“He was a little bit reserved on Day 1 and Day 2, but he has come out of his shell and this innings is going to give him a lot of confidence.

“We are really happy with the way he played, and I know he is as well.”

Clearly, Livingstone was hardly overawed by batting in his maiden PSL innings with the world’s No 1 Twenty20 batsman down the other end.

Babar Azam was the perfect foil for the Englishman, batting through to the end of the 18th over with typical class, as he made 77.

Given the platform Livingstone and Babar set, Karachi might have felt short-changed when they eventually posted 183 for six from their 20 overs. In the last 20 balls of their innings, they lost five wickets, and added just 18 runs.

The late-overs capitulation had no immediate knock over effect, as Imad Wasim, Mohammed Amir and Umer Khan applied the brakes with the ball.

Multan’s chase was revived, though, by the arrival at the wicket of their captain, Shoaib Malik – in particular when he took four boundaries and a six from one Ravi Bopara over.

Following the slow start to their chase, they were always up against it. Andre Russell hit a 108 metre six that nearly flew out of the top tier of the stadium.

When he went the following ball, the equation was 47 from four overs for Multan to win, with Afridi joining Malik at the wicket.

Usman Shinwari then struck to dismiss the captain, caught on the boundary by Sikandar Raza for 52 from 28 balls, and the challenge seemed all but over. Still they refused to concede, with Afridi savaging the bowling of Sohail Khan.

Amir accounted for Afridi, leaving Multan requiring 20 from 13 deliveries, then had Hammad Azam caught by Livingstone on the boundary rope, meaning Amir ended with four for 25.

Sohail redeemed himself by defending the 16 Multan required off the final over, and picked up two wickets in successive balls in the process.