Karachi Kings’ 19-year-old left-arm spinner Umer Khan continued his dream PSL 2019 campaign by putting in a match-winning performance in a crucial game against Quetta Gladiators that sealed a playoff spot in Karachi on Sunday.
Umer now has 13 wickets from nine matches. And a major chunk of those scalps are top wickets.
The left-arm spinner has already dismissed AB de Villiers, Shane Watson (twice), Shoaib Malik, Luke Ronchi, Umar Akmal this season. All are in-form quality players of spin. For a teen finger spinner to get the best in the business out on a consistent basis is a remarkable effort.
WATCH: The youngster Umer Khan impressed everyone with another fine bowling display, taking THREE wickets on the night for @KarachiKingsARY vs @TeamQuetta at @thePSLt20— Cricingif (@_cricingif) March 10, 2019
Ball-by-ball scorecard 👉 https://t.co/oc9gCgIVgY #KKvQG #PSL2019 #WBbyHemani #NatureKaNayaDour pic.twitter.com/lVU3wGWFAI
In Sunday’ match, it was Umer’s four overs that had kept Karachi in the game before last-over brilliance from Usman Shinwari and hara-kiri from Quetta batsmen sealed the match in Kings’ favour.
Umer had the dangerous Watson caught at deep midwicket, Rilee Rossouw stumped off a wide ball and Akmal caught at deep cover. It was the second time in PSL 2019 that Umer had dismissed Watson.
It has been a dream campaign for Umer. According to ESPNcricinfo, Umer wasn’t among Karachi Kings’ first 20 players but the 21st player that teams are allowed to select from their own scouting programme. Rashid Latif, who was the franchise director, backed Umer’s inclusion.
Karachi booked the final play-off spot on Sunday with a dramatic one-run victory over Quetta Gladiators and will be looking to keep that winning run going.
Imad Wasim’s men looked down and out when Ahmed Shehzad was striking the ball to all parts of the ground in Karachi before Usman Shinwari pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the final over by defending five runs and picking up three wickets.
With five wins from nine games, Karachi could still beat Islamabad United to the third spot in the table but it will not really make any difference with regards to the make-up of the play-off battle.
The Kings are almost certain to face Islamabad in the Eliminator barring a thumping win over Peshawar on Monday. Karachi and Peshawar are currently separated by only two points in the table but the latter have a much superior net run-rate (+0.566) compared to the former (-0.403).
Peshawar have a top-two finish almost secured barring a disaster against Karachi on Monday. However, Darren Sammy and his men could still finish the 2019 PSL league stage on top ahead of Quetta Gladiators should they beat the Kings.
With Sammy and his men most likely to face Quetta in the Qualifier, they will want to hit the ground running at Karachi on Monday. Another incentive for them in what is a dead-rubber clash is for Hasan Ali to regain the ‘Fazal Mahmood Cap’ (highest wicket-taker) from Faheem Ashraf who has moved to the top after a six-wicket haul against Lahore.
Karachi Kings: Colin Munro, Babar Azam, Liam Livingstone, Colin Ingram, Ben Dunk (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim (c), Aamer Yamin, Umer Khan, Usman Shinwari, Sohail Khan.
Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Umar Amin, Misbah-ul-Haq, Liam Dawson, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (c), Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Tymal Mills, Sameen Gul.
With Karachi Kings pipping Quetta Gladiators by one run at the National Stadium on Saturday, the four play-off berths have now all been filled with Lahore’s hopes coming to a dismal end.
It has once again been a season to forget for the Qalandars despite having a star-studded roster with the team in danger of finishing bottom of the table for the fourth year in a row.
Lahore still hold a two-point lead over Multan who were the first team to be eliminated from the play-off race but a huge margin of defeat on Sunday could still see them end up with the wooden spoon for a fourth time.
Fakhar Zaman and his men were still in the running for the play-off spot before the start of the Pakistan leg of the tournament but a crushing 49-run loss to Islamabad United on Saturday set them back big time.
For Multan, it will be all about finishing on a high after a disastrous campaign which has seen them taste seven defeats from their nine games. Having returned to the PSL under new ownership but the same name, the Sultans have simply failed to get going in the tournament despite their vast arrays of all-rounders.
While there might not be much to play for either side, Pakistan stalwarts like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar and Haris Sohail will all be determined to put in a commendable display in their final 2019 PSL outing.
Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman (c), Anton Devcich, Riki Wessels (wk), Haris Sohail, Sohail Akhtar, David Wiese, Agha Salman, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Sandeep Lamichhane, Rahat Ali.
Multan Sultans: James Vince, Umar Siddiq (wk), Johnson Charles, Shoaib Malik (c), Hammad Azam, Daniel Christian, Chris Green, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Abbas.