Islamabad United held their nerve in a tricky chase to clinch a four-wicket victory over Karachi Kings and go through to Eliminator 2 of the 2018-19 Pakistan Super League.
The architects of the win were Alex Hales – the Player of the Match – who scored a 42-ball 41, and Faheem Ashraf, who returned 2/30 with the ball and notched up an unbeaten cameo with the bat. Muhammad Musa, who returned 3/42, also made an important contribution.
Islamabad will now take on Peshawar Zalmi in the second eliminator for a place in the final, alongside Quetta Gladiators.
Karachi might not have envisioned this defeat after the start they had. Their openers – Babar Azam (42) and Colin Munro (32) – put on 52 runs for the first wicket in just 3.3 overs, before Azam fell to Rumman Raees. Liam Livingstone, their No. 3, then scored a 25-ball 30 to take the total to 100 in 10 overs. However, after he was dismissed by Shadab Khan in the 11th over, wickets tumbled regularly and Karachi slipped from 102/1 to 158/9.
Islamabad's chase began on the wrong note, as Luke Ronchi was sent back by Aamer Yamin for 5. Cameron Delport and Hales then steadied the ship, adding 44 runs for the second wicket.
However, Karachi hit back with two wickets in the ninth over to reduce Islamabad to 63/3. Hales remained at the crease, though, and was given good company by Hussain Talat, who scored a crucial 32 off just 19 balls.
Asif Ali, who struck a 10-ball 24, and Ashraf provided the finishing impetus, as Islamabad moved a step further towards their third PSL title.
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