Imad credits bowlers for Karachi Kings’ comeback win

Published June 19, 2021
“I thought the boys showed great character under pressure," Imad said in the post-match chat.
“I thought the boys showed great character under pressure," Imad said in the post-match chat.

KARACHI: A relieved Imad Wasim credited his bowlers for Karachi Kings’ comeback during their ‘must-win’ clash in the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 against traditional rivals Lahore Qalandars in Abu Dhabi.

With a playoff spot at stake, the defending champions were in danger of missing out qualification for next week’s phase after losing all three fixtures at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium during the ongoing second leg.

“I thought the boys showed great character under pressure, Imad said in the post-match chat after Karachi had sealed a nerve-racking win by just seven runs by restricting Lahore to 169-7 in the chase. “We were somewhat behind the eight-ball game during the first half [Karachi totalled 176-5 after winning the toss] by at least 20 runs on an excellent pitch for batting.

“Bowlers win matches and that notion was justified by the way spinners delivered under pressure. Credit to all of the bowlers despite [seamer] Abbas Afridi proving expensive, but he’s a young lad and importantly, someone who’s willing to learn quickly. Abbas is a wonderful cricketer to have in your team because he’s so keen to perform in whatever role assigned to him.

“[Mohammad] Ilyas also showed tremendous temperament and claimed a couple of key wickets to put Lahore under pressure. In this form [of cricket], bowlers often leak runs, but that is not a big worrying sign. I was pleased for [Mohammad] Amir to see him regaining top form after he had few bad matches. He’s a world-class performer and the way he bowled the penultimate over [which cost seven runs] was heartwarming since he is definitely our best bowler. I’m pretty confident Amir will be at his best in the remaining matches.”

In the meantime, Imad was more than elated with his own performance with both bat and ball after showing signs of being a reluctant captain. “As captain I had to stand up and be counted in a very crucial match, which we had to win and stay in [playoffs] contention. We were lacking in intensity on previous occasions. On a pitch such as this, I’ll say it was a great comeback when we were defending a below-par total. I think it was a very, very good win to be honest.

“Personally, I’m happy to have scored some runs [unbeaten 29 off 19 balls] when the side was in desperate need of runs at that stage. And when one does that it automatically helps as a bowler too, and taking the first wicket [Fakhar Zaman] enabled us to regain the momentum. One can never predict what will happen next but peaking at the right moment is a sign of encouragement for Karachi Kings,” Imad stressed.

Meanwhile, the currently discarded Australian batsman Usman Khawaja showered praise on Islamabad United after leading them to a 15-run victory over Peshawar Zalmi in Thursday’s first fixture.

Khawaja’s undefeated 105 off 56 balls guided Islamabad to a record PSL total of 247-2 before Peshawar nearly caused an upset by posting 232-6.

“There was no swing for the pace bowlers and the pitch was a belter to bat 20 overs,’’ the 34-year-old Pakistan-born let-handed opener remarked during the post-match interview. “The conditions were just perfect for the batters to go out there and enjoy. “But having said that, I am taking anything from our bowlers because they put in a great effort despite the fact [regular captain] Shadab [Khan] was resting from the match because he’s a good bowler in the middle overs. But it was good to see the other guys step up.

“We knew we were probably one pace bowler short but the guys did a great job to keep Peshawar at bay. When were batting upfront, I told [opening partner] Colin [Munro] straightaway that the ball hasn’t swung as it was doing the other day and that it was a really good pitch on which we could get some good runs. Anything above 200 was going to be a bonus because it wasn’t easy to bowl on that surface.”

Scoreboard

KARACHI KINGS: Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR Sharjeel Khan c David b Shaheen 13 10 1 1 130.00 Babar Azam c Hafeez b Rashid 54 44 7 0 122.72 M.J. Guptill b Ahmed 43 31 2 3 138.70 Najibullah Zadran c Dunk b Hafeez 0 1 0 0 0.00 C.A.K. Walton b Rashid 10 6 0 1 166.66 Imad Wasim not out 30 19 3 1 157.89 Danish Aziz not out 16 10 1 1 160.00 EXTRAS (LB-4, W-5, NB-1) 10 - - - -- TOTAL (for five wkts, 20 overs) 176 - - - -- FALL OF WKTS: 1-21 (Sharjeel), 2-109 (Guptill), 3-110 (Najibullah), 4-127 (Walton), 5-132 (Babar). DID NOT BAT: Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Ilyas, Noor Ahmed. BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-41-1 (2w); Faulkner 4-0-27-0; Haris Rauf 4-0-41-0 (1nb); Rashid Khan 4-0-25-2 (1w); Ahmed Daniyal 3-0-34-1 (2w); Mohammad Hafeez 1-0-4-1.

LAHORE QALANDARS: Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR Fakhar Zaman b Imad 19 26 0 2 73.07 Sohail Akhtar lbw b Ilyas 21 14 4 0 150.00 Mohammad Hafeez c Imad b Noor 36 36 3 1 100.00 Salman Ali Agha run out 1 2 0 0 50.00 B.R. Dunk c Babar b Noor 6 5 1 0 120.00 T.H. David c Danish b Abbas 34 14 2 3 242.85 J.P. Faulkner c Guptill b Ilyas 33 18 1 3 183.33 Rashid Khan not out 11 6 1 1 183.33 Shaheen Shah Afridi not out 0 0 0 0 0.00
EXTRAS (LB-3, W-4, NB-1) 8 - - - -- TOTAL (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 169 - - - -- FALL OF WKTS: 1-38 (Sohail), 2-58 (Fakhar), 3-66 (Salman), 4-79 (Dunk), 5-92 (Hafeez), 6-150 (David), 7-159 (Faulkner).
DID NOT BAT: Ahmed Daniyal, Haris Rauf. BOWLING: Imad Wasim 4-0-31-1 ; Mohammad Amir 4-0-31-0 (1w); Mohammad Ilyas 4-1-41-2 (1nb); Abbas Afridi 2-0-29-1 (2w); Noor Ahmed 4-0-19-2 (1w); Danish Aziz 2-0-15-0. RESULT: Karachi Kings won by seven runs. UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza and Asif Yaqoob. TV UMPIRE: Aleem Dar. MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Anees. PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Noor Ahmed (Karachi Kings). SATURDAY’S FIXTURES: Karachi Kings vs Quetta Gladiators (6:00pm PST); Islamabad United vs Multan Sultans (11:00pm PST).

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2021

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