LAHORE   -  Shadab Khan’s brilliant bowling helped Islamabad United rout Karachi Kings by 42 runs to register their third victory while Karachi Kings suffered their fifth successive home defeat in the HBL Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium on Sunday. 

Alex Hales and Paul Stirling provided third 50 runs plus opening start as Islamabad United collected 177 for six in 20 overs. While Islamabad United scored 53 for no loss in their PowerPlay overs, Karachi Kings managed 35 for the loss of Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam to eventually finish at 135 for nine and go down by 42 runs. 

The result means Karachi Kings are winless at their halfway stage and staring in the eyes of an elimination. The 2020 champions are by no means out of the competition, but if previous events have anything to do with this year’s tournament, then they will have to win the remaining five matches in the Lahore-leg and also improve their net run-rate so that they remain in contention for a place in the play-offs. Meanwhile, Islamabad United are on six points from five matches, Multan are at top of the table with five successive wins and Peshawar Zalmi are fourth with two wins and three loses. 

Stirling, playing his last match for United before he joins Ireland on national duty, top-scored with 39 from 30 balls with three fours and two sixes, while Hales scored a 21-ball 30 with five fours. Their 66-run stand for the first wicket was the third time they had crossed the 50-run mark. Their other partnerships in the Karachi-leg remained 112 (v Zalmi), 22 (v Sultans), 55 (v Gladiators) and 16 (v Qalandars). 

The middle-order thrived on the top-order’s start with Shadab Khan scoring a 19-ball 34 with four fours and a six and Colin Munro contributing a run-a-ball 33.  In the death overs, Azam Khan hit two fours and six in a seven-ball 16 and Faheem Ashraf clobbered a six in his five-ball seven as United scored 47 in the last five overs to finish at 177 for six. Kings, to secure their first win in the series, needed a solid and confident start. All they got were the run-outs of Sharjeel and Sahibzada Farhan, and Babar and Ian Cockbain missing straight balls as the 2020 champions slipped to 42 for four in eight overs. 

Shadab then took four wickets in eight balls as Kings stuttered to 135 for nine with Mohammad Nabi providing some consolation with a 28-ball 47 not out with five fours and two sixes.

Shadab, who is now the leading wicket-taker with 14 wickets besides his 186 runs at a strike-rate of over 182, had Lewis Gregory stumped, then had Imad Wasim caught in the deep, cleaned up Chris Jordan and was lucky to grab Mohammad Taha after television replays confirmed the ball would have missed the wickets.

Scores in brief

ISLAMABAD UNITED 177-6, 20 overs (Paul Stirling 39, Shadab Khan 34, Colin Munro 33, Alex Hales 30; Chris Jordon 2-36) beat KARACHI KINGS 135-9, 20 overs (M Nabi 47 not out, Sahibzada Farhan 25, Shadab Khan 4-15) by 42 runs.