Munro and Iftikhar stars for Islamabad in a high scoring thriller against Karachi
A stunning rescue from Colin Munro and Iftikhar Ahmed blew away the Karachi Kings attack to seal the victory by 8 wickets in a nail-biter at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.
Islamabad United with a consecutive win has dominated on the points table although they had few chances to win the match halfway when they had scored only 72 runs while chasing the humungous target of 191.
However, Colin Munro and Iftikhar Ahmed combined their skills to shock Karachi bowlers as they completed the task with eight balls and eight wickets to spare.
Usman Khawaja and Colin Munro made an average start to the innings after adding only 24 runs in the first four overs. The pressure took the wicket of Khawaja as he top-edged the ball to give his wicket.
Karachi bowlers were all over the place as they picked up Muhammad Akhlaq right after that, to end the powerplay decently.
Meanwhile, Iftikhar took his time to settle down as he scored 14 off 14 balls before shifting the gear. Munro on the other hand was dealing in boundaries in the next over from Abbas Afridi.
Soon after that, the New Zealander had completed his half-century to build the pressure on Karachi’s bowling. Thisara Perera bowled a lousy 14th over and got 23 runs in the over to ease the pain for IU.
Muhammad Amir was given back the ball but that also did not work out as Iftikhar did not stop the flow of boundaries and completed his maiden half-century.
The third-wicket stand grew bigger and faster until they reach 150 runs in which Iftikhar scored an unbeaten 71 followed by 5 maximums. Munro who had just shown the power in his arms in the recent match remained unbeaten on 88.
Batting first, Babar Azam continued his consistency with a decent half-century. After a disappointing performance from the last game, Babar got the help of Sharjeel Khan as his opening pair.
Both the batsman scored 25 runs in the first four overs. After his dismissal, Babar made sure to end the powerplay decently after hitting 17 off Ali Khan’s over.
Soon after the powerplay, Martin Guptill lost his wicket in an unlucky manner but then joined Najibullah Zadran to give power to the skipper.
The pair added a crucial 117 runs stand to give Karachi a strong position. Babar Azam kept playing with style and class, meanwhile, Najibullah kept striking boundaries to bring up his half-century.
There were huge chances of Karachi to touch the mark of 200 if Babar Azam had not dismissed and Perera had not taken wickets in the final two overs, but considering the pace by which IU was going that too have been insufficient.
“This is a team game, when our top order fails, the lower order performs and vice-versa. When you win, you learn from your mistakes quickly. Our fielding intensity wasn’t great, that’s something we need to work on. Intensity is something I demand from our players, the result isn’t in our hands. But we need to show that intensity,”said Shadab Khan, the winning captain.
“If you drop catches, this will happen. We have a lot to learn, a lot to improve. This is a setback. As far as our bowling goes, we don’t have too many options. I had an injury to my finger, so I couldn’t bowl out. We need to make a few changes, we’ll have a chat about it,”said Imad Wasim, the losing captain.
Brief scores: Karachi Kings 190/4 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 81, Najibullah Zadran 71*; Hasan Ali 1-31) lost to Islamabad United 191/2 in 18.4 overs (Colin Munro 88*, Iftikhar Ahmed 71*; Waqas Maqsood 1-27) by 8 wickets