PSL 2019: Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim lead Karachi to nervy win over Qalandars

Aditya Devavrat 00:47 01/03/2019
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Iftikhar Ahmed. Image: PSL/Twitter

On a sluggish pitch in Dubai, Karachi Kings pulled off a methodical, if sometimes nervy, victory over Lahore Qalandars that keeps the Pakistan Super League 2019 playoffs race alive.

Iftikhar Ahmed and captain Imad Wasim guided Karachi to a five-wicket win chasing 134 in a match that was in the balance until the 18th over during the chase, when they combined to hit hit three boundaries as part of a 17-run over off Aizaz Cheema, who had been impressive until losing his bearings under pressure.

Wasim hit a four off the first ball, a waist-high full toss that was rightfully called a no-ball, and then another boundary off the free hit , before Ahmed got another off the second-last ball of the over to effectively end the chase.

That over took the target from 25 off 18 to an easy eight off 12 and Karachi coasted home.

Up until that point, it had been a fiercely-contested game. Lahore’s total of 133-5 was competitive thanks to the pitch – innings of 18 off 21 from captain Fakhar Zaman, 33 off 32 from AB de Villiers, and 22 off 18 from Corey Anderson showed how difficult it was to score quickly. But with Karachi keeping wickets in hand until the end, it never seemed enough.

Ahmed and Wasim had the two highest strike rates of any batsman who faced at least 10 balls in the match, and that was enough to win the game. The former’s 33 off 25 included two fours and two sixes, but Wasim’s 19 off 13 was arguably more impressive – he was the only batsman to have a strike rate above 140.

Though his batting innings was crucial, Ahmed starred with the ball as well, finishing with remarkable figures of 2/4 from two overs of his off-spin to keep Lahore’s innings under check. Both his wickets were top-order batsmen, Zaman and Haris Sohail.

It was that sort of day for the spinners, who picked up seven of the 10 wickets to fall in the match. Yasir Shah and Sandeep Lamichhane were impressive for Lahore and threatened to derail the chase with their early wickets, sharing three between them, but it was Ahmed and Wasim – who also picked up a combined three wickets – who came up trumps.

The result leaves both sides on six points, with Lahore retaining that crucial fourth-place spot thanks to a superior net run rate.

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