Faheem, Ronchi
Faheem, Ronchi guide Islamabad to win over Karachi in PSL

Medium pacer Faheem Ashraf grabbed three wickets while Luke Ronchi struck a masterful half-century to steer defending champions Islamabad United to a comfortable seven-wicket win over a hapless Karachi Kings in HBL PSL in Sharjah on Saturday.

Ronchi built on Faheem’s 3-26 with an undefeated 35-ball 67 spiced up with three sixes and eight boundaries as Islamabad chased down a modest 144-run target with 23 balls to spare on a double-header day.

Australian Ben Dunk (32-ball 49 with two sixes and three boundaries) and Aamer Yamin (19-ball 35 not out with three fours and two sixes) helped Karachi Kings recover from a precarious 74-6 to 143-6 in 20 overs after they were put into bat.

Islamabad lost Cameroon Delport in the first over to a run-out but Ronchi in a company of Sahibzada Farhan (28-ball 30 with four boundaries) put the chase back on track.

Karachi captain Imad Wasim raised some hopes of a fightback by grabbing two wickets off successive balls — Fahran and Hussain Talat (nought) but Samit Patel smashed six fours and a six during his 30-ball 45 not out to avert any mishap. He added 62 for the unfinished fourth wicket stand with Ronchi.

Karachi’s spearhead Mohammad Amir went for 39 in his four overs while Usman Shinwari conceded 29 in his two. Imad was the only who succeeded with 2-27.

Shadab Khan, stand-in captain after Mohammad Sami was out with injury, showed delight in getting early wickets.

“We got wickets in power-play and that was good,” said Shadab. “I am elated that I did captaincy for the first time and we won.”

Imad was disappointed with lack of runs.

“It’s a worry that we have lost three in a row,” said Imad, whose team won their first match against Multan Sultans before losing the next three. “We did not score runs which we should have made and that was bad.”

It was a contrasting story when Karachi batted.

They lost wickets at regular intervals, losing half the side for 74 and their captain Imad’s first-ball duck put them in a dire strait before Dunk found an able ally in Yamin.

The duo put on 69 runs for the seventh wicket unbroken stand in real quick time. They added 63 in the last five overs, giving a fighting total to their team.

It was Islamabad’s medium pacer Faheem who jolted Karachi Kings.

Karachi were off to a disastrous start in which they lost the recently joined New Zealander dasher Colin Munro off the third ball,  caught for a duck as he holed out at deep fine-leg off Rumman Raees.

It became 2-19 when Awais Zia fell to Mohammad Musa for three off nine balls. Faheem then further jolted Karachi by dismissing Colin Ingram (five), Liam Livingstone (22) and Imad — the last two off successive deliveries. Livingstone’s 31-ball snail-paced 22 added no boundary.

Karachi’s best batsman Babar Azam struggled to 21-ball 27 with four boundaries before falling to a run-out, his second in as many games.

Dunk and Yamin batted with panache, trying to hit Karachi out of the trouble.

Fresh from his fifty in the final of the Big Bash League for Melbourne stars in a losing cause, Dunk hoisted Raees for a huge six and saw his partner smashing the last delivery from Faheem to the boundary.

Earlier, Quetta Gladiators’ captain Sarfraz Ahmed hit a last-ball six to give Quetta a hard-fought three-wicket win over Lahore Qalandars. That kept Quetta’s unbeaten record intact, scoring eight points from four wins.

Saturday’s win gave Islamabad their third win in five games and a second position in the table topped by Quetta (four wins in as many games). Peshawar are third (with four points in four games with two wins), Lahore are fourth (two wins in five games), Multan fifth (one win in four matches) and Karachi sixth (one win, three losses in four matches).

Former champions Peshawar Zalmi meet Multan Sultans while two-time runners-up Quetta faces Karachi on Sunday.

Islamabad United beat Karachi Kings by seven wickets in HBL PSL

Brief Scores:

Karachi Kings 143-6 in 20 overs (B. Dunk 49 not out, Aamer Yamin 35 not out: Faheem Ashraf 3-26)

Islamabad United 147-3 in 16.1 overs (L. Ronchi 67 not out, S. Patel 44 not out)

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