Karachi Kings tasted first victory of the season after they overpowered Lahore Qalandars by 22 runs in a low scoring 26th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in front of an almost full-house here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday night.

Karachi, which mustered 149 runs in 19.5 overs, clamped Lahore in its chase and despite late onslaught from David Wiese, got 127 for nine. Kings bowler Mir Hamza was the star of the day, as he took four key wickets of Lahore Qalandars to ensure points for his team.

Karachi, which is already out of the tournament, had a face-saving with their win over Lahore in Lahore. Qalandars that had 10 points in seven games were looking for place in the playoffs but now they have to win all its coming games.

Defending champions Multan Sultans qualified for the February 23 Qualifier after they snatched 117 runs victory over a hapless Quetta Gladiators earlier in the day. Lahore Qalandars will now face Islamabad United in the 27th match of the league on Saturday.

Harry Brook and David Wiese with some gutsy batting kept Lahore Qalandars hopes intact till the 18th over. But Mir Hamza who first broke the partnership taking the wicket of Brook and then despite review from Wiese trapped him leg before wicket. They provided some reprieve to Lahore’s score from 63 for five to 119 for six. Brook made 28 while Wiese piled up 31 in 23 balls. With that Qalandars now look to regroup in their next match to stay alive in the tournament.

Hamza snared four wickets for 27 while Jordan had two scalps and Imad got one wicket. The early fall of wicket of their consistent batsman Fakhar Zaman left their batting shivering and Lahore kept losing wickets afterwards with regular intervals swelling the run rate. Only Mohammad Hafeez remained put at the crease for some time but in the 12th over he was run out at 33 when Qalandars were lingering at 65. He was the fifth Lahore player to head back to the pavilion.

The match that looked in Qalandars grasp seemed slipped away before the perfect bowling of Kings, which was not seen before in the tournament. Mir Hamza penetrated through Lahore upper batting with two wickets while Imad Wasim and Chris Jordan dented it further.

The only other player from the top order who reached double figure was Kamran Ghulam. He made 13 runs otherwise with lackluster batting Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar and Phil Salt together contributed just 17 runs.

Earlier, Rashid Khan and Zaman Khan made the clear difference for Lahore Qalandars against Karachi Kings which struggled to set a 150 runs target thanks to Lewis Gregory late efforts. Rashid and Zaman were brilliantly with the ball in Lahore’s attack as they shared four wickets each to push Karachi to the wall. They are now among the top wickettakers.

Right from the start Karachi Kings never came in the game while consistently losing wickets. They were 116 for eight in the 16th over and had it not Lewis Gregory’s 27 laced with five fours in 16 balls the score would have been far below.

Opting to bat first, Kings made a change in the opening pair as they sent Joe Clarke alongside Babar Azam. But, the change didn’t work well for Kings who were looking for their maiden win in the seventh edition of the event.

Clarke scored just four runs before Zaman Khan struck for Qalandars. Skipper Babar once again stood firm and kept the scoreboard rolling. His innings of 39 included five boundaries. Qasim Akram contributed 26 with six and three boundaries but he didn’t get enough support and later Gregory came as a rescuer. He certainly came up with more runs than Sharjeel, Clark, Imad, Nabi and Jordan collectively produced.

Rashid cleaned up Imad Wasim and Chris Jordan in a row lately to dent Kings. Zaman was the other performer with the bowl as he once again proved his strength. Mohammad Hafeez and Shaheen Shah Afridi also took a wicket each for Qalandars.

Rashid, who had a last game in the PSL this season for joining national duty, finished with et figures of 4-0-17-4. “It was all about length on this wicket. The hard length was hard to get off and I tried to stay there. Zaman’s bowling early up and later on has been impressive. He has bowled to the plan well.

“The send-off from the fans has been amazing. I have to go back for national duty but the crowd in the stadium seemed to be full even when it wasn’t. Don’t want to try the bat as I want the target to get knocked over before I come in,” said Rashid.

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2022-02-19

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