Islamabad United stun Karachi Kings by five wickets

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Karachi Kings batsman Sharjeel Khan plays to the off side during his 59-ball 105 knock against Islamabad United during their PSL VI match at National Stadium Karachi on Wednesday.

KARACHI: Sharjeel Khan’s splendid century went in vain as Islamabad United defeated Karachi Kings by five wickets in their Pakistan Super League (PSL) VI match at the National Stadium Karachi here on Wednesday night. Chasing formidable target of 197, Islamabad raced home with five balls to spare as their batsmen gave an overall excellent performance. The Shadab Khan-led team lost their first wicket in the starting over of the fixture after opener Phil Salt was caught out by Daniel Christian off Karachi captain Imad Wasim’s delivery. Mohammad Amir struck in the second over as Shadab got out on lbw. The other opener, Alex Hales, managed to save the innings from a completely dismal start, hitting six boundaries in the first five overs. In total, Hales struck eight boundaries and one six in his 21-ball 46 and was named Player of the Match. Iftikhar Ahmed (49 not out) and Hussain Talat (42) also performed strongly with the bat to help their side past the tough target of 197.

Earlier, Islamabad won the toss and chose to bowl first. The innings for the home side was opened by Babar Azam and Sharjeel who looked in fine form, hitting effortless boundaries to pick up runs. The game picked up pace from the 8th over as Sharjeel struck one four and five sixes in just two overs, snatching control from Islamabad’d bowlers. Babar hit another boundary in Lewis Gregory’s over, becoming the leading run-scorer in the PSL. In the same over, Sharjeel hit a four to bring up his half-century.

Karachi had a scare in the 14th over when Sharjeel was apparently caught out, only for it to be ruled a no-ball. It seemed as if Islamabad were out of luck when a second catch out (Babar) was again ruled a no-ball. Sharjeel brought up his century in style, sealing it with a six. Babar and Sharjeel’s stint was the highest opening partnership in the tournament’s history. The partnership was finally broken in the 19th over when Babar whose catch was dropped by Alex Hales was run out by Hasan Ali. Sharjeel got out on the very next ball, caught lbw by Hasan, after making a magnificent 59-ball 105. Karachi lost their third wicket when Mohammad Nabi got caught out by Zafar Gohar off Hussain Talat’s ball.

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