Karachi Kings defeated defending champions Lahore Qalandars by two wickets in a last ball thriller in the 10th encounter of the Pakistan Super League-2024 here at the nearly filled-to-capacity Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday night.

In a match of fluctuating fortunes, Karachi Kings, floating on the match-winning partnership of Shoaib Malik and Kieron Pollard for the fifth wicket, reached 176 for eight in their chase of 175 for six scored by Lahore Qalandars, who now remain winless in the tournament.

The base set by Malik-Pollard combination was then taken to eternity by Irfan Khan (13 not out), Hasan Ali’s six in his nine runs and the final ball single of Mir Hamza when the score was tied at 19.5 overs.

Sunday is a doubleheader in which Multan Sultans will take on Quetta Gladiators at Multan and Lahore will face Peshawar at the Gaddafi Stadium. Lahore Qalandars were going great guns with their attack and with combined effort reduced Karachi into bits. They ignited Karachi collapse with the run out of skipper Shah Masood at 9-ball 10 when they were at 19 in 2.5 overs. When the score reached 27, their second wicket fell when James Vince was cleaned by Ahsan Hafeez and was followed by Mohammad Akhlaq at the same score by the start of the fifth over.

At 44, Karachi were down with their fourth wicket when Mohammad Nawaz, scoring 10-ball 15, was bowled by Zaman Khan. The fall of Akhlaq and Nawaz paved the way for Shoaib Malik and Keiron Pollard at the crease and both the Pakistani veteran and the West Indian pinch-hitter melted all the pressure produced previously by the Lahore attack.

Both these Kings batters dictated terms and after settling down at the wickets went for the kill. They shaped up Karachi innings with 95 runs partnership for the fifth wicket. Pollard played a lead role with a 33-ball 58. It was Shaheen Shah on his return to bowling took Pollard wicket to make Karachi 139 for five in 15.5 overs. Pollard smacked five sixes and a four.

Malik and the new batter in, Daniel Sams, accelerated the score a bit more but the experienced campaigner from Pakistan became Haris Rauf victim at his personal 39 got in 32 balls and Kings’ 143 for six in 16.4 overs.

Sams and Irfan Khan needing 33 in 20 balls went on to muster runs but when it seemed the game was slipping from Lahore hands, Zaman Khan clean bowled Sams in the 19th over for seven, leaving Karachi to get another 18 runs with three wickets in hands. Irfan and Hasan Ali were on a task to get 11 runs off the final over delivered by Ahsan Hafeez and was straightaway smashed for a six by Hasan. They then took a single, double and a single before Hasan’s catch was taken by Haris at mid-off and the score was tied. On the final ball, new batter Mir Hamza took a single to earn a hard-fought win for Karachi.

Zaman Khan and Ahsan Hafeez shared two wickets each while Shaheen Shah Afridi, Jahandad Khan and Haris Rauf got one scalp apiece.

Sahabzada Farhan played a responsible innings to anchor Lahore Qalandars total. Farhan, factually portraying, injected life into the innings of Lahore Qalandars, which was going nowhere and Lahore now had posted a useful total. Cameos from Rassie van der Dussen, Shai Hope and later from George Linde dragged them to a respectable score.

Farhan opened for Lahore and started slowly and cautiously to give authority to the total for his bowlers to fight for. In between innings, he developed a number of partnerships from big to small and also witnessed fall of wickets at regular intervals.

His partnership for the second wicket with Rassie van der Dussen developed 36 runs, then a similar stand he established alongside Jahandad Khan for the 4th wicket, 24 runs for the fifth wicket pairing with Shai Hopes and finally he came up with the biggest partnership of the match of 54 runs for the seventh wicket with George Linde.

Carrying the bat, Farhan produced the most valuable innings of 72 runs in 45 balls, hitting four fours and as many sixes while his not out partner scored 26 runs in 13 balls, helped with three fours and a six. It was Farhan’s 14th half century of career as his fifty came in 36 balls.

Lahore Qalandars who were at nine for one achieved their first 50 in 8.4 overs, 100 in 14.2 overs and 150 in 17.5 overs and reached the mark well enough for his bowlers to defend. Lahore Qalandars though initiated their scoring slowly but thanks to Farhan and Linde, it paced up in the closing moments. During the last five overs, Qalandars got 61 runs for the loss of one wicket and the run-rate that was nearly close to five swelled to above 8.7.

Karachi Kings bowled well for the most part as Mir Hamza, Hasan Ali, and Tabraiz Shamsi picked up two wickets each. Mohammad Nawaz was economical as well but Shoaib Malik was only used for one over but with no success.

Karachi Kings having kept the same playing eleven, won the toss and will bowl first while Lahore Qalandars brought in Shai Hopes.

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