With solid 50’s by batsmen Brad Haddin and Dwayne Smith, and a match-winning five wicket haul by bowler Mohammed Sami, Islamabad United paid put to the Karachi Kings’ dream of reaching the Pakistan Super League finals.
At the ‘eliminator’ playoffs in Dubai on Saturday, the Karachi squad faced a humiliating defeat from Islamabad, losing the match by nine wickets.
Ravi Bopara, captaining Karachi in place of Shoaib Malik, chose to bat first, but his side could manage only an unremarkable total of 111-9. Bopara was the top scorer with 37, with Lendl Simmons and Ryan Doeschate following with 19 and 16 runs each.
Islamabad United lost little time in overcoming the target, with nine wickets in hand and five overs to spare, eliminating Karachi Kings from the tournament with ease.
Islamabad then faced Peshawar Zalmis on Sunday, carrying on their winning streak by notching up a 50-run victory against their opponents.
Opener Sharjeel Khan stood his ground with an amazing knock of 117 runs, setting up a solid base for Islamabad, who ended up giving a challenging target of 177 to the Zalmis.
Despite the cheering crowd egging them on, the Peshawar Zalmis put up a poor batting show. Kamran Akmal was the only batsman to score big, with 45 off 32 balls. Expectations from Hafeez (8), Darren Sammy (9), and skipper Shahid Afridi (17) failed to materialize as the team was sent packing in 18 overs after scoring 126 with no wickets left.
The grand finale is tonight, with Islamabad now pitched against underdogs Quetta Gladiators, who have valiantly fought their way to the top, winning many hearts during their arduous battle.