Babar Azam’s Karachi Kings lose fifth straight game in PSL

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Hasan Ali (L) celebrates after bowled to Ian Cockbain (R) during the PSL match at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi. AFP

Two-time champion Islamabad United won by a commanding 42 runs to hand Karachi Kings their fifth straight loss in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Host Karachi, led by Pakistan T20 captain Babar Azam, will go to Lahore next week for the final leg of the PSL without a point. Another defeat will put the team on the brink of elimination.

Islamabad skipper Shadab Khan, who won the toss and opted to bat first, continued his brilliant all-round form and raised his wickets tally to 14. Shadab picked up 4-15 through his sharp legspin bowling that restricted Karachi to 135-9 in its unimpressive chase.

Farhan-KarachiKings Paul Stirling plays a shot during the PSL match between Karachi Kings and Islamabad United. AFP

Earlier, Islamabad’s seasoned Twenty20 top order made 177-6 on a slow and dry wicket with Paul Stirling hitting 39 upfront in his last PSL game this season and Shadab scoring 34 off 19 balls.

Stirling will be going back to Ireland for national duty. The opener scored 187 runs in five PSL games that pushed Islamabad to No. 2 in the standings, four points behind Multan Sultans. Babar said his team needed more confidence.

“Unfortunately, we have lost all games so far, (but) I will try to give the boys more confidence going ahead,” said Babar, who took three splendid catches in an otherwise below-par performance by his teammates.  “I think we leaked some extra runs, but I still felt that it was a chaseable total.”

Injury-hit Karachi has struggled to challenge oppositions at home as their key fast bowler Mohammad Amir was ruled out from the tournament without playing a game.

English bowler Chris Jordan (2-36) picked up two late wickets in his first game – both catches by Babar – to dismiss Shadab and Colin Munro (33) before Azam Khan played a cameo of 16 off just 7 balls to lift Islamabad’s total.

BabarAzam-PSL Mohammad Nabi (L) celebrates with Babar Azam (R) after dismissal of Paul Stirling (unseen). AFP

Karachi always seemed to struggle once it lost Babar (8) and Sharjeel Khan (6) inside the batting powerplay. Sharjeel was run out in a mix-up with his skipper while fast bowler Mohammad Wasim knocked back the off stump of Babar in the fifth over.

Shadab then ran through the middle-order with his sharp googlies and legspinners before Mohammad Nabi resisted with an unbeaten 47 off 28 balls.

Associated Press

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