Islamabad United won the toss and subsequently the encounter against Karachi Kings, as they remained in control of the game and handed Karachi an eight-wicket defeat in the 15th fixture of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Sunday at Sharjah.
Asked to bat first by Islamabad, Karachi started slow but gained momentum later in their innings to put 153 runs on the board at the end. Islamabad responded aggressively, so much so that they soon knocked Karachi out of the equation.
United had a 104-run opening wicket stand courtesy a smashing 71-run knock by Luke Ronchi, who was later adjudged man of the match for his match-winning performance. Meanwhile, Kings never looked in control of the game as United continued with their onslaught.
Kings lost an early wicket when Joe Denly was bowled by Sami in the second over after scoring four runs.
Opener Khurram Manzoor was joined by Babar Azam in the centre who steadied the innings, taking their side to 32/1 at the end of the batting powerplay.
Despite not being able to take another wicket, United's bowlers were successful in keeping the Kings' batsmen relatively quiet. Karachi Kings managed to score only 49 runs in the first 10 overs for the loss on one wicket.
It was not until the 11th over when the Kings shifted gears and started batting aggressively. They scored 32 runs in three overs; so when a strategic timeout was called after the 13th over, Kings were 81 with nine wickets remaining to make the most of the remaining seven overs of their innings — and set a defendable total.
Manzoor and Azam scored a remarkable 101-run partnership before Manzoor was dismissed by Fahim Ashraf after scoring 51 of 41 balls.
Karachi Kings scored 153 runs for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Manzoor and Azam remained the pick of batsmen scoring 51 and 55 runs, respectively.
In reply, Islamabad United were off to a blistering start scoring 61 runs in their batting powerplay at an average of over 10 runs per over. United's opener Luke Ronchi scored his half-century in just 22 balls.
Ronchi scored 71 runs off 37 balls before losing his wicket to Mohammad Irfan.
United stepped on the field without their Vice Captain Rumman Raees who is recovering from a knee injury, while Kings are playing without star all-rounder Shahid Afridi who is said to be unavailable for the 10 days due to a knee injury.
Currently sitting just above Lahore Qalandars — who the United denied their maiden victory in the season after a thrilling super over finish — Islamabad are relying on their young blood under the captaincy of the old guard and former national team skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.
Meanwhile, Kings are top of the table with three big wins under their belt already. Captained by Imad Wasim, they've been in top form so far with solid overall performances both in the bowling and batting departments.