Iftikhar Ahmad receives the man of the match award. Image Credit: Twitter/KarachiKingsARY

Dubai: Iftikhar Ahmad, displaying his allround skills, led Karachi Kings to a five wicket win over Lahore Qalandars in the 20th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Dubai International Stadium.

Restricting Lahore Qalandars to a moderate 133 runs, through Iftikhar’s fine spell of two wickets for just four runs, Karachi won the match with five balls to spare. Iftikhar sparkled with the bat too by scoring an unbeaten invaluable 33 runs at the crucial stage of the match.

Karachi had won the toss but put Lahore into bat. Skipper Imad Wasim struck with the third ball of the first over by dismissing Lahore opener Gauhar Ali, who tried to hit over square leg but was caught by Mohammad Amir for 4. When it looked like opener Fakhar Zaman was settling down for a big score, off spinner Iftikharforced Zaman to hit high to Babar Azam in the seventh over for 18.

AB De Villiers on zero, swept Iftikhar to Azam, who failed to take the catch. Iftikhar picked his second wicket when Haris Sohail got bowled to a ball which kept low and hit his stumps for 20. Lahore reached the 50 run mark in 8.2 overs.

Corey Anderson hit 19-year-old left-arm spinner Umer Khan for a six and Lahore were 65 for 3 at the half way mark. Anderson went on to hit Wasim too for a six and a boundary in the 12th over but Umer had him stumped by wicket keeper Mohammad Rizwan for 22. De Villiers hit Umer for two successive boundaries. With only five overs to go, Lahore were 95 for 4.

In the 17th over, Mohammad Amir had De Villiers reverse sweep to Umer Khan at short third man for 33.

In the 18th from Aaron Summers, Lahore got just five runs and the 19th over from Amir they gained only nine runs. However in the last over, Sohail Akhtar hit Aamer Yamin for a boundary off the first ball but could get only ten runs. Akhtar remained unbeaten with 29.

Karachi openers Colin Munro and Babar Azam gave a quick start to their team. From the first over from Fakhar Zaman they took 14 runs. At the score of 21, Lahore’s leg spinner and hero of their last match win against Quetta Gladiators, Sandeep Lamichhane forced Munro to drive into the hands of Haris Sohail for 15. In the fifth over, Lamichhane bowled Azam with a beautiful delivery for 11. Incidentally, by taking the wickets of Munro and Azam, he had dismissed the world’s No.1 and No.2 ranked batsmen.

Colin Ingram and Liam Livingstone batted cautiously and at the half way mark, Karachi needed 75 more runs. The pair went on to put 50 runs in 7.1 overs when Rauf yorked Ingram for 12.

When Yasir Shah clean bowled Livingstone too for 38, the match began to head towards an exciting finish. Off the last five overs, Karachi needed 37 runs with four wickets in hand. David Wiese picked the wicket of Mohammad Rizwan for 2 in the 16th over. With 25 runs needed off the last 18 balls, skipper Imad Wasim hit Aizaz Cheema for a boundary, Iftikhar too maintained the run flow and reduced the requires runs to eight off the last 12 balls and just two runs off the final over. Iftikhar Ahmad through and unbeaten 33 and Imad Wasim through his unconquered 19 ushered the team to victory with five balls to spare.

Brief scores

Karachi Kings bt Lahore Qalandars by 5 wkts. Lahore Qalandars 133 for 5 in 20 overs (Haris Sohail 20, AB De Villiers 33, Corey Anderson 22, Sohail Akhtar 29n.o, Iftikhar Ahmad 2 for 4) Karachi Kings 134 for 5 in 19.1 over (Liam Livingstone 38, Iftikhar Ahmad 33n.o, Sandeep Lamichhane 2 for 17) Man of the match: Iftikhar Ahmad.