Lahore through to PSL playoffs after beating Multan

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Defending champions Lahore Qalandars became the first team to qualify for the Pakistan Super League playoffs after beating Multan Sultans by 21 runs on Saturday.

Sam Billings (54) and Abdullah Shafique (48) lifted Lahore’s total to 180-9.

Legspinner Rashid Khan took the sting out of Multan’s chase with 3-15 as last year’s runner-up was restricted to 159-7.

Lahore’s bowlers have successfully defended totals in six games and they have won five successive home games, a PSL first.

Despite a third loss in seven games, Multan remained second and ahead of Islamabad United on net run-rate.

League-leading wicket-taker Ihsanullah took 2-33 for Multan but Shafique and Billings featured in a 69-run stand off 46 balls to raise Islamabad's spirits. Both perished to Kieron Pollard in successive overs.

Rashid setback Multan's reply with the wickets of Usama Mir (11), who was promoted in the batting order, and David Miller (1) in the same over.

The chase was completely derailed at 87-5 when Rashid clean-bowled Rilee Rossouw for 17 in the 13th over.

Pollard's 39 off 28 balls reduced the margin of defeat.

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