Liam Livingstone and Babar Azam broke Pakistan Super League records with a mammoth opening stand of 157 for Karachi Kings against Multan Sultans on Friday, 15 February.
But Karachi still only squeezed through by seven runs after their top order somehow collapsed – they lost 6 for just 26 – and ended up posting 183/6. In the end, it was Mohammad Amir’s expertise at the death that pushed them over the line after Multan ended on 176/9.
Despite all that drama, the highlight of the day remained the fireworks displayed by Livingstone and Azam. Livingstone, the England batsman who played two T20Is in 2017, was exceptional on his PSL debut, scoring a 43-ball 82, comprising six sixes and as many fours.
Livingstone did the bulk of the scoring, but Azam – No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC Rankings for T20I Batsmen – was just as thrilling at the other end during his 59-ball 77, comprising six fours and a six.
Their 157 runs came in just 15.4 overs, and it was the highest partnership in the tournament’s history, eclipsing the 153 put on by Shane Watson and Sharjeel Khan for Islamabad United in 2016.
Karachi will be disappointed at what followed – Chris Green, the Australian off-spinner, had both Livingstone and Azam dismissed within two overs, and no other batsman reached double figures.
Despite that record partnership, the collapse left Multan with an attainable target of 184. And with Shoaib Malik hammering a 28-ball 52 and Laurie Evans scoring a supportive 39-ball 49, Multan were on course.
However, Amir ripped through the middle order, crucially dismissing Andre Russell, Shahid Afridi, and Hammad Azam, the latter two in the penultimate over, to return 4/25 and help Karachi squeeze through.
In the second PSL match of the day, Quetta Gladiators saw off Peshawar Zalmi by six wickets, with Umar Akmal leading the charge with a 50-ball 75*.