Azam”s blitz puts Kings on brink of elimination

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RAWALPINDI: Islamabad United set the record for their highest chase in the HBL Pakistan Super League as Azam Khan’s sparkling 72 not out off 41 (eight fours and four sixes) helped them roll over Karachi Kings’ 201 with six wickets and four balls spare at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Friday. Never before had Islamabad United – the two-time champions – chased a target of 200 or more.

Azam entered the fray at the dismissal of Rassie van der Dussen in the eight over with 69 on the scorecard and Islamabad United needed him to showcase his extraordinary repertoire of strokes. He did exactly that after settling in and stitched a match-defining 125-run partnership with Faheem Ashraf, who made 41 off 32 (two sixes and one four) and mostly played a supporting act. Islamabad United had a solid start to the run chase despite Mohammad Amir removing Colin Munro (11 off five) in the first over. Alex Hales smashed 34 off 16 and added 50 runs for the second wicket with van der Dussen before the former was bowled on the last ball of Powerplay by Aamer Yamin.

When Tabraiz Shamsi bowled van der Dussen two balls later, it rang alarm bells for Islamabad United, but Azam and Faheem negated the Shamsi and Shoaib Malik threat cautiously before launching a brilliant counterattack.

Karachi Kings were rescued and then dragged over 200 by yet another outstanding Imad Wasim innings. The Karachi Kings captain smoked 92 off 54, hitting 11 fours and two sixes, and added 99 runs with Muhammad Irfan Khan, who played a decent supporting hand with 20-ball 30. Over the course of this innings, Imad became only the second batter in the HBL PSL 8 to cross the 300-run mark.

Imad had to walk to the middle with five Powerplay balls remaining as Karachi Kings lost three wickets for 53. Firing cameo by Tayyab Tahir (19 off eight) and Adam Rossington’s 20 off 16 made sure Karachi Kings’ scored at a respectable run rate despite the fall of wickets in the first six overs.

Shoaib Malik was the only batter to fall in the middle overs when he was bowled by a beautiful Faheem delivery that nipped back into the right-hander and Islamabad United had to wait till the penultimate over for the next wicket and it came off a brilliant acrobatic effort by Hasan Ali at the boundary straight down the ground.

Irfan launched Tom Curran high into the night sky and the fast bowler caught the ball diving backwards, but such was his presence of mind that he relayed the catch to van der Dussen before coming into contact with the rope or crossing it.

Islamabad United now have four wins from six matches, while Karachi Kings have lost six of the eight.

 

Scores in brief:

Karachi Kings 201-5, 20 overs (Imad Wasim 92 not out, Muhammad Irfan Khan 30, Adam Rossington 20; Tom Curran 2-43)

 

Islamabad United 204-4, 19.2 overs (Azam Khan 72 not out, Faheem Ashraf 41, Alex Hales 34, Rassie van der Dussen 22)

 

Player of the match – Azam Khan (Islamabad United)

 

Tomorrow’s fixture:

 

1900 – Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

 

Points table:

 

Team

Played

Won

Lost

Points

Net Run Rate

Lahore Qalandars

6

5

1

10

1.367

Multan Sultans

6

4

2

8

0.844

Islamabad United

6

4

2

8

-0.184

Peshawar Zalmi

6

3

3

6

-0.896

Karachi Kings

8

2

6

4

0.437

Quetta Gladiators

6

1

5

2

-1.768

 

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