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Akhlaq, Imad Starred In Karachi's Big Win Over Qalandars


image-lf5q777yTahir was one of the architects of a famous win. (Twitter)

On the back of some splendid performances by Muhammad Akhlaq and Imad Wasim, Karachi Kings capped off a disappointing season with a win over the table toppers Lahore Qalandars by a huge margin of 86 runs at their home ground in Lahore.

Akhlaq’s fifty steers the Kings to a competitive total

A new-look Karachi Kings team got off to a fairly decent start with Muhammad Akhlaq and Tayyab Tahir stitching a crucial second-wicket partnership after the fall of Haider Ali fell in the very first over of the match after managing to score eight off five deliveries. Things were looking good at the halfway stage as both batters showed their class and power with the bat making full use of the field restrictions. Karachi finished the powerplay at 68-1. 

Qalandars needed a breakthrough and the introduction of Hussain Talat did the trick for them as he struck twice in the eighth over to send back Tahir and Qasim Akram in quick succession. Karachi skipper Imad Wasim joined Akhlaq in the middle and started the rebuilding work. These quick dismissals didn't deter Karachi's scoring rate. Akhalq brought up his first-ever PSL fifty of just 34 balls but he was soon dismissed by Haris Rauf in the 13th over. 

As soon as the opener departed, Imad decided to shift gears once he was joined by Ben Cutting. The pair went about accelerating during the death overs and added a vital 52-run partnership. Zaman Khan then got the prize scalp of dangerous-looking Imad for 45. Cutting still produced some lusty hits off Haris Rauf's bowling in the penultimate over as Karachi eyed 200. However, Rauf had the last laugh as he trapped Cutting off the fourth delivery. Cutting's dismissal restricted Karachi to a total of below 200.

Combined bowling effort help Karachi crush Lahore

In the defense of a 197-run target, Karachi bowlers gave their team an ideal start with Fakhar Zaman, Qalandars' most experienced and successful batter, getting out in the third over.

Akif Javed also chipped in as he removed Abdullah Shafique and Kamran Ghulam cheaply in the first six overs. The defending champions found themselves in trouble by the end of the powerplay with the scoreboard reading 31/3. Imad Wasim and Co were tightening their grip in the match. Hussain Talat, who was the star of Qalandars' first innings with the ball, and Sam Billings tried to stabilize the innings but the Karachi bowlers were just too good on the day as they didn't give any freebies. With the ever-increasing run rate, the pressure was mounting on the home side and that's when Billings gave away his wicket by playing a nothing shot as he edged a short delivery from James Fuller to the keeper in the ninth over. 

Lahore's stand-in captain David Wiese promoted himself to No.6 but the decision was proven wrong by Imad Wasim. The left-arm spinner deceived Wiese with a tossed-up delivery as Wiese holed out to long-on. Then came the evergreen Imran Tahir, who got a couple of wickets in one over including the wicket of a well-set Talat to ensure a collapse. Haris Rauf and Zaman Khan had some fun in the middle with a few maximums but Mohammad Umar eventually dismissed the former to complete a special win.

Imad Wasim, Aqif Javed, Mohammad Umar, and Imran Tahir got two wickets each. While James Fuller bagged the sole wicket.

Brief Scores:

Karachi Kings: 196-7 (20)

Muhammad Akhlaq 51 (36), Imad Wasim 45 (31);
Hussain Talat 2-24, Zaman Khan 2-39

Lahore Qalandars: 110-10 (18.5)

Hussain Talat 25 (25), Haris Rauf 18 (14);
Akif Javed 2-8, Imran Tahir 2-24

Match Result: Karachi Kings won by 86 runs