In front of a packed house at the National Stadium in Karachi, Ahmed Shezhad almost single-handedly dragged Quetta to a win with a sublime 99 but Shinwari picked up three wickets in a sensational final over to pull off a great escape for the Kings.
Chasing 191 for victory, Quetta got off to an excellent start with the bat with openers Ahmed Shehzad and Shane Watson adding 66 runs in the powerplay without any damage.
Umer Khan brought Karachi roaring back into the match with the young spinner adding Watson and Rilee Rossouw to the collection of illustrious batsmen he has dismissed in the tournament.
Shehzad and Umar Akmal were then starting to forge a promising stand with the former going on to register his third consecutive fifty for Quetta with a huge six off Sohail Khan. However, the brilliant Umer brought Karachi back into the game once again with the crucial wicket of Akmal (27) in his final over.
With 56 runs required off 30 deliveries, Shehzad turned the tide with three sixes off the 16th over bowled by Usman Shinwari. Despite Dwayne Bravo failing to score off four consecutive deliveries in the next over, Shehzad kept his nerve to take Quetta to the verge of a win before Usman Shinwari introduced another late twist in the tale.
With just four runs more needed for a Quetta win, Shinwari dismissed Shehzad on 99 before removing Anwar Ali with the next delivery. Sarfraz Ahmed was dismissed for a duck two deliveries later to bring down the equation to three required off the last ball.
USMAN SHINWARI HAS DONE IT FOR KARACHI KINGS AND LAHORE QALANDARS ARE OUT— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 10, 2019
Karachi Kings have defeated Quetta Gladiators by 1 run to qualify for the eliminator
Ball-by-ball scorecard 👉 https://t.co/oc9gCgIVgY #KKvQG #PSL2019 #KhelDeewanoKa #CricketForAll pic.twitter.com/lBoCZXutuu
Sohail Tanvir could only sneak in a leg-bye off the final delivery as Shinwari lead Karachi sensationally to the play-off from the verge of defeat.
Earlier, having been made to bat first by Quetta skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Karachi openers Babar Azam and Colin Munro started in watchful fashion to put on a 69-run stand in nine overs. Munro’s 30-run stay was cut short by leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed before Mohammad Nawaz sent back danger man Liam Livingstone.
Babar continued to march on and registered his third half-century of the campaign as Karachi’s batsmen turned the screws in the final 10 overs. An entertaining 10-ball 24 from Colin Ingram and a brief cameo from Ben Dunk helped Karachi to press on before Iftikhar Ahmed came out to play a blinder of an innings in the death overs.
The all-rounder smashed an unbeaten 44 runs off just 18 deliveries with the help of two sixes and five boundaries to help Karachi post a daunting total of 190-5. 120 runs came off the final 10 overs of the innings for the Kings with the last five overs fetching 65 runs.
Karachi now join Quetta, Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United in the play-off with Lahore Qalandars’ eliminated from the running.
Karachi Kings: 190-5
Babar Azam: 56 (46)
Iftikhar Ahmed: 44 not out (18)
Mohammad Hasnain: 2-36
Quetta Gladiators: 189-7
Ahmed Shehzad: 99 (57)
Umer Khan: 3-26
The duo had previously fallen out of favour with the Pakistan national team set up owing to contrasting reasons. Akmal had a public fall-out with Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur while Shehzad has not featured for the national team ever since he tested positive in a dope test last year.
However, the two players have managed to grab eyeballs with their performances for Quetta in the ongoing 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL). Umar is the fourth-highest Pakistan run-scorer in the ongoing campaign with 228 runs in nine innings which have come with the help of two half-centuries.
The top-order batsman’s form has seen him earn a recall to the Pakistan side for the upcoming ODI series against Australia while Shehzad has started to impress too with back-to-back half-centuries in his last two outings for Quetta after a poor start to his campaign.
“Entire Pakistan knows how talented both players are, they are too good especially in this format,” Moin told the media on Saturday.
“You know when a player has the ability and can deliver not only for your team but for Pakistan also, and I personally believe both are deserving players. They are the kind of players who can walk into the Pakistan team anytime and Umar gave that example recently.
“Unfortunately, Ahmed wasn’t in form earlier but later he also came into form.”
The former Pakistan skipper lauded the two Quetta batsmen for the discipline they have shown in the side’s PSL campaign which has seen them rise to the top of the standings.
“Coaches aren’t only supposed to diagnose the disease but should provide the treatment as well. Unfortunately, whatever happened with these kids earlier, they are good players and our assets. So all we did was treat them right and gave them the due respect,” he stated.
“If a player is given the respect he deserves then I don’t think there is any reason for him to not perform well. They have behaved well throughout the tournament, they have a good discipline and that’s why they are performing.
“So, with a clear mind I can say that if both keeping doing this, they can be in the Pakistan team in the future.”
Akmal and Shehzad will be in action on Sunday at Karachi in what is Quetta’s final league fixture of the PSL campaign. Having already secured a top-two finish, the Gladiators will be looking to finish on a high when they take on Karachi Kings.
Playing in front of their home fans, the Kings will be assured of the last play-off berth should they beat the Gladiators in what is their penultimate league fixture.
Quetta, on the other hand, have already sealed a top-two finish and will look to finish their league engagements on a high before they move to the play-off battle.
Can Karachi make their play-off dream a reality or will Quetta hand Lahore Qalandars a lifeline? Find out by following the ball-by-ball updates from Karachi below.