KARACHI: A relieved Imad Wasim credited his bowlers with the Karachi Kings’ comeback during their “must have” clash in the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 against traditional rivals Lahore Qalandars in Abu Dhabi.
With a playoff spot at stake, the defending champs were in danger of missing out on qualifying for next week’s phase after losing all three games at Sheikh Zayed Stadium during the current second leg.
“I thought the guys showed great character under pressure,” Imad said in post-match chat after Karachi sealed a harrowing victory by just seven runs by restricting Lahore to 169-7 in the chase. “We were a little behind the eight-ball game in the first half [Karachi hit 176-5 after winning the pitch] by at least 20 runs on an excellent hitting pitch.
“Bowlers win games and that idea is justified by the way spinners deliver under pressure. Credit to all bowlers even though [locksmith] Abbas Afridi turned out expensive, but he is a young lad and more importantly someone who is willing to learn quickly. Abbas is a wonderful cricketer to have on your team because he is very interested in playing whatever role is assigned to him.
“[Mohammad] Ilyas also showed tremendous temper and claimed a couple of key lands to put pressure on Lahore. In this form [of cricket], bowlers often lose runs, but that’s not a huge sign of concern. I was pleased that [Mohammad] Amir saw him regain top form after having a few bad matches. He is a world class performer and the way he threw the penultimate lap (which cost seven runs) was moving, as he is definitely our best bowler. I’m pretty sure Amir will be at his best in the remaining matches. ”
Meanwhile, Imad was beyond euphoric at his own performance with both the bat and the ball after showing signs of being a reluctant captain. “As captain I had to stand up and be counted in a very crucial game, that we had to win and stay in [the playoffs] contention. We lacked intensity on previous occasions. In a field like this, I will say that it was a great comeback when we defended a below average total. To be honest, I think it was a very, very good victory.
“Personally, I’m happy to have scored a few runs [29 undefeated on 19 balls] when the team desperately needed runs at the time. And when you do that, it also automatically helps as a bowler, and taking the first wicket [Fakhar Zaman] allowed us to regain momentum. You can never predict what will happen next, but peaking at the right time is a sign of encouragement for the Karachi Kings, ”Imad emphasized.
Meanwhile, Australian batsman Usman Khawaja, currently ruled out, praised Islamabad United after leading them to a 15-run win over Peshawar Zalmi in Thursday’s opener.
Khawaja’s 105 undefeated on 56 balls led Islamabad to a PSL-record total of 247-2 before Peshawar nearly caused a surprise by registering 232-6.
“There was no swing for the rhythm bowlers and the pitch was excellent for hitting 20 overs,” the 34-year-old Pakistani-born starter commented during the postgame interview. “The conditions were perfect for the hitters to come out and enjoy themselves. “But having said that, I’m taking anything from our bowlers because they put in a lot of effort despite the fact that [regular captain] Shadab [Khan] was taking a break from the match because he’s a good bowler in the middle. But it was good to see the other guys step up.
“We knew we were probably missing a bowler, but the guys did a great job keeping Peshawar at bay. When we were hitting early, I told [starting teammate] Colin [Munro] right away that the ball hadn’t moved like it did the other day and that it was a really good pitch where we could do some good runs. Anything over 200 would be an advantage because it was not easy to bowl on that surface. ”
KARACHI KINGS: batters and firing mode RB 4s 6s SR Sharjeel Khan c David b Shaheen 13 10 1 1130.00 Babar Azam c Hafeez b Rashid 54 44 7 0 122.72 MJ Guptill b Ahmed 43 31 2 3 138.70 Najibullah Zadran c Dunk b Hafeez 0 1 0 0 0.00 CUP Walton b Rashid 10 6 0 1166.66 Imad Wasim not outside 30 19 3 1157.89 Danish Aziz not outside 16 10 1 1160.00 EXTRAS (LB-4, W-5, NB-1) 10 – – – – TOTAL (for five weeks, 20 overs) 176 – – – – FALL OF WEEKS: 1-21 (Sharjeel), 2-109 (Guptill), 3-110 (Najibullah), 4- 127 (Walton), 5-132 (Babar). DID NOT DIE: Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Ilyas, Noor Ahmed. BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-41-1 (2w); Faulkner 4-0-27-0; Haris Rauf 4-0-41-0 (1nb); Rashid Khan 4-0-25-2 (1 week); Ahmed Daniyal 3-0-34-1 (2 weeks); Mohammad Hafeez 1-0-4-1.
LAHORE QALANDARS: Batters and firing mode RB 4s 6s SR Fakhar Zaman b Imad 19 26 0 2 73.07 Sohail Akhtar lbw b Ilyas 21 14 4 0 150.00 Mohammad Hafeez c Imad b Noor 36 36 3 1100.00 Salman Ali Agha exhaust 1 2 0 0 50.00 HAB Dunk c Babar b Noor 6 5 1 0 120.00 TH David c Danish b Abbas 34 14 2 3242.85 J.P. Faulkner c Guptill b Ilyas 33 18 1 3183.33 Rashid Khan does not come out 11 6 1 1183.33 Shaheen Shah Afridi does not come out 0 0 0 0 0.00
EXTRAS (LB-3, W-4, NB-1) 8 – – – – TOTAL (for seven weeks, 20 overs) 169 – – – – FALL OF WEEKS: 1-38 (Sohail), 2-58 (Fakhar) , 3-66 (Salman), 4-79 (Dunk), 5-92 (Hafeez), 6-150 (David), 7-159 (Faulkner).
DIDN’T BAT: Ahmed Daniyal, Haris Rauf. BOWLING: Imad Wasim 4-0-31-1; Mohammad Amir 4-0-31-0 (1 week); Mohammad Ilyas 4-1-41-2 (1nb); Abbas Afridi 2-0-29-1 (2 weeks); Noor Ahmed 4-0-19-2 (1 week); Danish Aziz 2-0-15-0. RESULT: Karachi Kings won by seven runs. REFEREES: Ahsan Raza and Asif Yaqoob. TV REFEREE: Aleem Dar. MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Anees. PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Noor Ahmed (Karachi Kings). SATURDAY SETUP: Karachi Kings vs. Quetta Gladiators (6:00 pm PST); Islamabad United vs Multan Sultans (11:00 pm PST).