Imran Khalid and Asif Ali play well to give Islamabad United a crucial win
Islamabad United and Karachi Kings have not had the campaign they would have wanted, with only two wins under the belt for both teams so far. Misbah Ul Haq won the toss and chose to field first, a decision which paid huge dividends for his side. James Vince opened the innings for Karachi with Shazaib Hasan, who was playing his first match of the tournament. Vince was dismissed by Imran Khalid in the second over, as he chipped a comfortable catch for Misbah at short cover. Imad Wasim was caught leg before two deliveries later, as Khalid got Islamabad United off to a dream start. Shahzaib took charge of the innings and started scoring quick runs with Karachi looking to rebuild from that dreadful start. He was joined by the ever consistent Ravi Bopara in the middle. Just as the partnership seemed to be kicking off nicely, Shahzaib was caught behind by Brad Haddin off Mohammad Sami, who bowled beautifully during the innings. Karachi Kings were 53/3 after the first ten overs.
Mushfiqur Rahim joined Bopara next, and got runs flowing with some clever batting. Bopara kept rotating the strike but could not really get going the way we’ve come to expect from him in this tournament. Mushfiqur played a few good shots and raced to 33 runs from 27 balls before he was bowled out by Andre Russell in the 17th over, bringing an end to a 60 runs partnership. Karachi just could not manage to finish strongly, as Bopara was also dismissed after a struggling 45 from 50 deliveries. United bowlers were on song and bowled brilliantly throughout the innings, restricting Kings to a modest total of 128/5 after their allotted overs. Islamabad went in to the break feeling very confident, as they were half way towards a crucial win.
United’s innings started off dramatically, Sohail Khan got the explosive Sharjeel Khan in the second over, who found Shahzeb for a comfortable catch. Andre Russell opened the innings instead of the injured Shane Watson, who will no longer participate in the competition. Russell faced a ferocious Mohammad Amir in full swing, who he dispatched for six straight away. Amir fired back with two back to back bouncers, forcing Russell to get deeper in to his crease, before bowling a wide fuller delivery which deceived the batsman totally and he ended up hitting the stumps with his bat! Sohail sent Brad Haddin back to the pavilion in the very next over as the Karachi camp was ecstatic! They needed to pick up early wickets and that’s exactly what they did. With 19/3, we had a match on our hands.
Misbah Ul Haq came on to the crease after being disappointed by his top order batsmen once again, a situation he is all too familiar with. He steadied the innings and built a partnership with the talented Khalid Latif, who took his time to settle in before dealing only in sixes. These two batsmen put together 63 runs for the fourth wicket to put Islamabad in control before Khalid was dismissed by Usama Mir in the 14th over. The young Asif Ali came on to bat for United and saw Misbah (38 from 38 balls) dismissed with only a few overs remaining, as Karachi Kings clawed their way back into the game. Asif took charge of the innings and smashed away Bopara for runs, before finishing the match off in glorious fashion with a six towards long on, as Islamabad United sealed their victory by five wickets. Asif remained not out after a blistering 31 from 17 runs in an impressive performance. Karachi Kings need to come back strongly in their next match against Peshawar Zalmi on the 17th of February.
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