Karachi Kings win oust Lahore Qalandars from PSL
Karachi Kings Saturday registered a 14-run win over Quetta Gladiators that was enough for them to qualify for the PSL play-offs and send Lahore Qalandars packing from the event.
Karachi successfully defended the 177-run target in match number 29 of the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Quetta Gladiators, who made five changes to their side for their final outing in what was a forgettable series for them, finished at 162 for seven in 20 overs.
The Kings' victory means that they overtook Lahore Qalandars on the points table with better run rate as Qalandars join last-placed Gladiators on the sidelines.
The Kings total was courtesy to Danish Aziz whose quickfire 45 runs off 13 balls made the difference. Danish mustered 33 runs in the 19th over bowled by Jack Wildermuth that makes it the costliest ever over in the PSL history.
Cahsing 177-run target, Quetta lost first wicket on the last ball of the fifth over, with Mohammad Ilyas dismissing Saim Ayub (19). The Gladiators already seemed to be struggling to score big at that time. Arshad Iqbal picked up the second wicket for the Kings in the eighth over as he bowled Jake Weatherald (25), piling up the pressure on the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side.
In the 11th over, Mohammad Ilyas added pressure on the Gladiators when he dismissed Usman Khan (15), thanks to a good catch by the skipper Imad Wasim, while Arshad Iqbal took the wicket of Azam Khan (15) in the 13th over.
Hassan Khan was really unlucky as Mohammad Amir's touch of the ball, driven by Sarfaraz, hit the stumps and led to a run-out — sending him back to the pavilion for 24.
In the 18th over, Ilyas picked up his third wicket as he dismissed Abdul Nasir (0), thanks to an easy catch by Danish Ali five yards in from the rope.
Gladiators' skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed finished the match with an unbeaten 51.
Earlier, Kings started losing wickets after the 10th over. However, after Danish came in, the wickets stopped falling and the all-rounder helped the team put up a competitive score.
Abdul Nasir was able to get the first breakthrough for the Gladiators in the first ball of the 10th over, dismissing the Kings' star batsman Babar Azam (23) with a good catch by Hassan Khan.
Following Nasir's breakthrough, spinner Arish Ali was able to take two wickets — Sharjeel Khan (45) and Martin Guptill (5) — in the 11th over, while he got two others, Najibullah Zadran (12) and Imad Wasim (3), in the 15th and 17th overs, respectively.
In the 20th over, Khurram Shahzad bowled Ali — the batsman who changed the course of the match despite being under immense pressure. Moreover, Mohammad Ilyas (1) was run out on the last ball of the over.
While table-toppers Islamabad United already guaranteed to feature in the 21 June Qualifier irrespective of how their last match against Multan Sultans pans out, Sultans will need to avoid a big loss against United to ensure both the sides go head to head in the match that will commence at 1700 UAE time (1800 PKT time).
If Sultans beat United or avoid a big loss, then Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings will go toe to toe in the first Eliminator on 21 June, which will get underway at 2200 UAE time (2300 PKT time). In the scenario of Sultans losing heavily in the 30th and final league match, United and Zalmi will play the Qualifier, while Sultans and Kings will meet in the first Eliminator.
Karachi Kings 176-7, 20 overs (Danish Aziz 45, Sharjeel Khan 45, Chadwick Walton 34 not out, Babar Azam 23; Arish Ali 4-28
Quetta Gladiators 162-6, 20 overs (Sarfaraz Ahmed 51 not out, Jake Weatherald 25, Hassan Khan 24, Saim Ayub 19; Mohammad Ilyas 3-39, Arshad Iqbal 2-39)
Player of the match – Danish Aziz (Karachi Kings).