Noor Ahmed was the standout bowler for Karachi Kings picking up two wickets
Karachi Kings kept their chances of making it into the playoffs alive with a thrilling seven-run victory against Lahore Qalandars during their Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL) season six encounter in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Chasing a tricky target of 177 runs, Lahore Qalandars’ openers Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar got their side off to a flying start.
Pacer Mohammad Ilyas got the first breakthrough for Karachi Kings, trapping skipper Sohail Akhtar LBW after scoring 21 runs off 14 balls.
The introduction of spinner Noor Ahmed completely changed the tide of the game as the youngster bowled his incredible variations to put a stranglehold on the batsmen.
Opener Fakhar Zaman succumbed to the scoreboard pressure as he danced down the track only to be beaten by all-rounder Imad Wasim and bowled after scoring 19 runs off 26 balls.
All-rounder Agha Salman had an awkward mix-up and was run-out at the non-striker's end after scoring just one run off two balls.
Batsman Ben Dunk was the next to fall as spinner Noor Ahmed worked his magic and got an edge that carried safely to fielder Babar Azam at slip.
Mohammad Hafeez, who had been struggling to find his shots, was finally removed by Noor Ahmed, caught by fielder Imad Wasim, after scoring 36 runs off 36 balls.
With their backs to the wall, Lahore Qalandars’ batsmen started swinging for the fences and the match entered a stage where anything could have happened.
Pacer Abbas Afridi, however, held his nerves despite being hit for many and forced an error from explosive batsman Tim David after he had scored 34 runs off just 14 balls.
All-rounder James Faulkner (33 off 18) seemed to be the last man between Karachi Kings and victory. Mohammad Ilyas got the better of Faulkner in the last over of the match as Lahore Qalandars’ chances of winning the match fizzled out.
Tailender Rashid Khan finished unbeaten on 11 runs off six balls as Lahore Qalandars ended their innings on 169 runs for the loss of seven wickets, falling short by just seven runs.
Noor Ahmed was the standout bowler for Karachi Kings picking up two wickets.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Karachi Kings were off to a good start as opener Sharjeel Khan seemed to be in excellent touch.
The surge, however, was short-lived as pacer Shaheen Shah quickly removed the explosive batsman, caught by fielder Tim David, after he had scored just 13 runs off 10 balls.
Lahore Qalandars got many chances to get Karachi Kings’ premier batsman Babar Azam but failed to capitalise on many opportunities, dropping catches and missing a run-out.
The sloppy work by Lahore Qalandars allowed batsmen Babar Azam and Martin Guptill to score an important 88-run partnership off 62 balls that laid a solid foundation for their side.
Pacer Ahmed Daniyal finally got Martin Guptill to chop one delivery onto his stumps after he had scored 43 runs off 31 balls.
Veteran all-rounder then removed batsman Najibullah Zadra for a golden duck to apply some much-needed pressure on Karachi Kings.
Batsman Chadwick Walton came out with the intent to push the scoring rate but was bamboozled by leg-spinner Rashid Khan after scoring just 10 runs off six balls.
Babar Azam, who enjoyed several chances throughout the match, was finally caught by fielder Mohammad Hafeez off the bowling of Rashid Khan after scoring 54 runs off 44 balls.
Karachi Kings managed to maintain the momentum and score 176 runs after unbeaten knocks towards the end by skipper Imad Wasim (30* off 19) and batsman Danish Aziz (16 off 10).
Rashid Khan was the standout bowler for his side picking up two wickets in his allotted overs.