Imad-Qasim heroics in vain as Karachi Kings slide to seventh straight loss
Islamabad United 191 for 7 (Shadab 34, Asif 28, Imad 2-30) beat Karachi Kings 190 for 8 (Imad 55, Qasim 51, Maqsood 3-34) by one run
Islamabad United were the side beset by injuries, but the insult was all Karachi Kings. It went much, much deeper than anyone might have believed six overs before the death, and took a third umpire’s decision on a marginal run-out to settle the outcome. But for the Kings, the result in the end was no different to their previous six games: a defeat. They become the first PSL side to lose their first seven PSL games, and the first to be eliminated from this year’s competition. But in the end, the story of United’s one-run win was much too dramatic to be reduced to mere numbers.
It came down to a nail-biting final over from Waqas Maqsood, in which Kings needed eight. A boundary off the second ball brought it down to a run-a-ball, but two wickets took the game right down to the final delivery, off which the Kings needed two. Chris Jordan spooned it back to Maqsood, who somehow dropped it, but managed to gather and effect a direct hit at the non-striker’s end. Jordan was inches short of the popping crease that would have guaranteed the Kings a Super Over, and United had just about clung on to victory in a game they should have sealed long ago.
United had major problems throughout their defence of 191 with Shadab and Zameer missing, and for much of the first ten overs, the Kings needed to bide their time, stay in the game, and target whoever bowled the other three overs. But when Asif Ali, who had a grand total of two career T20 wickets, stepped up, he removed Sharjeel off a rank long-hop with his first ball, and cleaned up Mohammad Nabi four deliveries later. The Kings were 80 for 5, and the game seemed done and dusted.
But Pakistan U-19 captain Qasim and Imad struck up a glorious counterattacking partnership that put their side on the brink of victory. Qasim rode his luck to score an unbeaten 51 off 26, while Imad Wasim smashed 55 off 28, both capitalising on United losing their discipline on the field. No fewer than half-a-dozen catches were shelled, and ones were allowed to turn into two and four as the nerves tightened while the runs flowed freely. Hasan Ali was at the receiving end of another death-overs pasting; he was smashed for 16 runs in the penultimate over that left Qasim with so little to work with.
If you’ve seen United bat once, you’ve probably seen them bat every time. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Muhammad Akhlaq fell early, but that didn’t deter them from continuing to go after the bowling. Once more, there wasn’t one outstanding contributor to their total, but five batters scored between 22 and 34, all at strike rates in excess of 130. Faheem Ashraf (29* off 10) and Asif Ali (28 off 11) blitzed a 57 off a combined 21 balls at the death as United walloped 78 off the final six overs. A couple of hours later, they would need every single one of those as they just about held off a resurgent Kings side, and shored up their own hopes of playoff qualification in the process.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000