Karachi Kings 187 for 5 (Hales 52, Sharjeel 38, Delport 38) beat Islamabad United 183 for 3 (Ranchi 85*, Shadab 54*) by five wickets
Unbeaten half-centuries by Luke Ronchi and Shadab Khan wound up being in vain for Islamabad United as Alex Hales’ own rapid fifty chasing a target of 184 propelled the Karachi Kings to a five-wicket win with eight balls to spare. Ronchi and Shadab added an unbeaten 106 for the fourth wicket to end Islamabad’s innings, and then maintained early momentum in the Karachi chase when Babar Azam was run out without facing a ball taking on Shadab’s arm at backward point in the first over of the reply.
But in a way it backfired for Islamabad because it brought Hales to the crease, who teamed with Sharjeel in a ferocious stand, adding 58 together off just 27 balls to put Karachi in command. Sharjeel was the aggressor, turning on the accelerator in the fifth over against Faheem Ashraf when he clobbered a pair of pulls over backward square leg for sixes in the space of three balls.
Sharjeel was eventually given out via DRS on 38 in the sixth over when replays revealed his attempted upper cut to a Rumman Raees slower ball was gloved on the way through to Ronchi diving forward. But again momentum shifted quickly back to Karachi as Cameron Delport picked up the slack from where Sharjeel left off, crunching three sixes in his 38 off 28 balls during a 64-run stand with Hales.
The pair got out in back-to-back overs in identical fashion, bashing a six before getting out on the very next ball. But by that stage there was little work left to do. One last brief hiccup came via the run out of Iftikhar Ahmed for 1, but Chadwick Walton and Imad Wasim were largely unfazed during their unbeaten 48-run stand to close out the match. Wasim blasted Ashraf for back-to-back sixes over square leg to start the 19th over to bring the equation down to two off 10 balls. A single to level the scores was followed by a four struck by Walton over cover to clinch victory.
Islamabad could not contain their excitement in the field when Shadab’s athletic charge from backward point along with a sidearm whip from 12 yards pinged the striker’s stumps with Azam inches short of his ground in the first over of the chase. The run out was partly a consequence of Azam trying to take pressure off Sharjeel by calling for a tight run to get Sharjeel off strike after he had already gone scoreless in his first three deliveries.
But rather than get mentally bogged down by the run out even further, Sharjeel responded in extremely positive fashion. His assault on Ashraf in the fifth over flipped momentum firmly back towards Karachi and his innings inspired Delport to follow suit.
Star of the day
Hales may have been overshadowed by both Sharjeel and Delport in his half-century stands with them, scoring at a slower rate than either. However, he lasted longer at the crease and in the process brought up his maiden PSL half-century. He reached the landmark off 29 balls in style too, driving the spin of Ahmed Safi Abdullah over long-off for six.
In addition to his fifty, Hales was also superb in the field. Perhaps his most underrated contribution towards receiving Player-of-the-Match honours was his sliding catch taken after charging forward about 25 yards from long-off to snare the wicket of Rizwan Hussain, who was looking very ominous having already struck two fours and a six in his 22 off 14 balls.
The big miss
Shadab was so caught up in a fit of rage aimed at Rizwan that he missed Rizwan running out Iftikhar in the 15th over of the chase. Iftikhar had nudged Shadab behind point for a would-be single that was called for by Walton thinking Rizwan had chosen the wrong end to throw at. Walton had bolted immediately for the run and was almost in the crease by the time Rizwan had released the ball aimed at the non-striker’s stumps, triggering Shadab into furious gesticulations. Meanwhile, Iftikhar had hesitated significantly and was only halfway down the pitch when the throw was on its way, ultimately falling short. As the rest of the Islamabad squad celebrated, Shadab was still smarting.
Where the teams stand
Islamabad blew a chance to pass the Quetta Gladiators and instead remain in third place on five points, ahead of Peshawar Zalmi on net run rate. Karachi closed the gap with Islamabad and Peshawar and are now one point behind both in fifth place on four points.