New Zealand batsman Luke Ronchi hit a quick-fire half-century to steer Islamabad United to an eight-wicket win over Karachi Kings at Sharjah on Sunday, handing their opponents the first taste of defeat in the league.
Ronchi smashed ten boundaries and three towering sixes during his 37-ball 71 — equalling highest individual score in this PSL with Peshawar Zalmi’s Dwayne Smith’s 71 not out — as Islamabad chased down a 154-run target in 17.2 overs.
Babar Azam hit 53-ball 55 while Khurram Manzoor fired 41-ball 51 to take Karachi Kings to 153-6 in 20 overs after they were put into bat on a flat shinning Sharjah stadium pitch.
Ronchi put on a 104-run partnership for the first wicket with Jean-Paul Duminy (43 not out off 44 balls) in 10.5 overs to almost put the match beyond Karachi Kings’ reach. Asif Ali smashed the winning six off Karachi’s skipper Imad Wasim to seal the victory.
After today’s game, all six teams have completed five matches, Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings are at the first and second position respectively with seven points each having NRR of 0.76 and 0.38 respectively, Islamabad and Peshawar Zalmi on six each. Quetta has four points while Lahore Qalandars are yet to get a point in this season of PSL
All three Karachi Kings’ left-arm pacers — Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari and Tymal Mills bowled too short, allowing Ronchi to score freely as United reached the half-century in 5.1 overs. Amir’s first two overs cost 24 and Shinwari’s 22 runs.
Ronchi was finally dismissed by lanky pacer Mohammad Irfan Jr., caught and bowled while Hussain Talat (8) fell to Amir but the target was almost within their reach by then.
Earlier, Karachi Kings posted the highest total in six Sharjah games this year, reaching 153-6 in their 20 overs.
They owed their total to a second-wicket stand of 101 between Babar and Manzoor who lifted the total after Joe Denly went for four in the second over.
Manzoor smashed six boundaries and a six while Babar’s knock had two sixes and three boundaries. Both batted with confidence and even after their departure Karachi Kings managed 47 runs in the last five overs with Mohammad Rizwan scoring nine-ball 21 not out and Imad Wasim making 10.
Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers with 3-23.
The PSL shifts against to Dubai on Wednesday after a day’s rest.