Asif Ali came to the rescue to help defending Pakistan Super League (PSL) champions Islamabad United beat Karachi Kings by five wickets in a nail-biting clash at Dubai which went down to the final over.
Asif smashed 70 runs off just 38 deliveries to help Islamabad chase down the target of 169 runs with four balls to spare in the end,
Islamabad’s chase began on a dismal note with Cameron Delport falling for a duck to Karachi skipper Imad Wasim. Luke Ronchi started in typical explosive fashion at the other end but once he and Hussain Talat were dismissed by young Umer Khan in the seventh over, Islamabad were struggling.
However, Asif came out all guns blazing in an innings which contained as many as six sixes to turn the tide in spectacular fashion. The Pakistan batsman received able support from England’s Philip Salt at the other end with the duo stitching together a 93-run stand to set up an excellent platform for Islamabad.
Having reached his half-century off just 30 balls, Asif was ultimately dismissed by Mohammad Amir in the 16th over but by then he had brought down the asking-rate for his side to a manageable level.
.@AasifAli2018 (70*) destroys @manuz05 with some brutal blows there. Islamabad United are 140/3 after 16 overs now— Cricingif (@_cricingif) February 27, 2019
Ball-by-ball details 👉 https://t.co/IKsvHtbhUQ #KKvIU #PSL2019 #CricketForAll #KhelDeewanoKa pic.twitter.com/Mer25BfZmm
Salt fell four runs short of a half-century in the next over but Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf were on hand to complete the job for Islamabad.
Earlier, Karachi had been made to bat first after Islamabad skipper Shadab won the toss. Colin Munro’s poor PSL continued with the New Zealand falling cheaply to Rumman Raees.
His opening partner Babar Azam, however, rediscovered his form with the Pakistan stalwart collecting as many as seven boundaries in the powerplay. He combined well with Englishman Liam Livingstone with the pair putting on 78 runs for the second wicket.
It was Livingstone who was the primary aggressor in the partnership with the 25-year-old striking four sixes and five boundaries on his way to 56 before he was dismissed by Shadab.
Colin Ingram failed to repeat his heroics against Quetta with the South African become one of the three wickets to fall to Raees.
Babar tried to hold fort for Karachi at one but wickets continued to tumble in the death overs as Islamabad fought back hard. Only 73 runs came in the final 10 overs of Karachi’s innings while seven wickets were lost.
Karachi Kings: 168-8
Babar Azam: 68 (50)
Liam Livingstone: 56 (31)
Rumman Raees: 3-27
Islamabad United: 169-5
Asif Ali: 70 (38)
Phil Salt: 46 (38)
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