اردو

Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan share record-breaking opening stand

The left-hand opener brought up his second PSL century in just 55 balls

Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan share record-breaking opening stand PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam shared a record-breaking opening stand (176) as Karachi Kings scored 196-3 against Islamabad United, after being asked to bat first on Wednesday at National Stadium, Karachi.

Sharjeel struggled to get going early, scoring only 6 runs in his first 17 balls, which included a boundary. On the other end, Babar Azam was dealing mostly in boundaries as he hit five boundaries in the powerplay, taking Karachi to 33 for no loss.

Shadab introduced himself in the attack after the powerplay and Sharjeel took the opportunity to go big, hitting the leg-spinner for a boundary in his first over. However,  the real entertainment for the crowd came in the second over of Shadab, as Sharjeel hit the United captain for four consecutive sixes in the 9th over of the innings, taking the score to 80-0 in 9 overs.

Shadab brought the player of the match from their last game, Lewis Gregory, into the attack, but to no avail as Sharjeel carved a slower delivery through the third man area for a boundary, to bring up his fifty in just 32 balls.

The message was clear from Imad after the timeout as Sharjeel tried to hit Zafar Gohar out of the park on every ball, as the left-arm spinner conceded 17 runs in his second over.

Iftikhar Ahmed came in next to counter Sharjeel but Babar took advantage and hit the part-time spinner for a six, completing his fifty in 38 balls.

Mohammad Wasim almost provided the breakthrough for Islamabad with Karachi on 124, however the right-arm pacer had overstepped the line, giving a life to Sharjeel. If that wasn’t enough, Hussain Talat overstepped as Babar was caught in the deep in the 15th over.

With Karachi on 140-0 after 15 overs, they needed both their openers to change gears and Sharjeel complied as the duo broke the previous record for highest partnership (157), between Babar Azam and Liam Livingstone, in PSL.

The left-hand opener wasn’t done as he brought his second PSL century in just 55 balls by hitting all-rounder Faheem Ashraf for a six in the 18th over. United finally got a breakthrough in the second last over as Babar was run out for 62. Sharjeel followed suit as he was trapped lbw by Hasan Ali on the next ball.

Late cameo of 12 runs by Daniel Christian ensured the highest PSL total for Karachi this season.