Karachi: Islamabad United hope a better record will help them thwart Karachi Kings’ challenge on the latter’s home turf when the two teams meet in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019 Eliminator 1 at the National Stadium on Thursday.
The winner will meet the losing side from Wednesday’s match between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi in Eliminator 2 on Friday, with the winner qualifying for the sell-out March 17 final.
Islamabad, winners in 2016 and 2018, were equal on points with their rivals in the league phase with 10 in as many games, finished ahead of Karachi on better net run-rate. They also have more balance in their batting and bowling, which earned them two wins against Karachi in this year’s event.
On their way to the title in the first edition, Islamabad beat Karachi in the Eliminator by a convincing nine-wicket margin when Brad Haddin (52 not out) and Luke Ronchi (50 not out) help them chase down a modest target of 111 runs.
Karachi, however, reversed the result in 2017 when the two teams again met in the Eliminator, beating Islamabad by 44 runs at the back of some superb bowling by Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim and Usama Mir — all taking three wickets.
Islamabad again had the better of Karachi in the third edition on their way to the title, winning by eight wickets. Ronchi once again was Karachi’s nemesis, by scoring a whirlwind 94.
However, Islamabad captain Mohammad Sami feels it will be a new match on a new day. “We have done well in the league phase, but there are no advantages because come Thursday it will be a new match for both the teams,” said Sami, who took a hat-trick against Peshawar Zalmi in the league phase.
Karachi skipper Imad Wasim hopes his team catches Islamabad napping. “We are looking forward to play against Islamabad. We have had a lot of good battles against them and they have obviously won a lot of games against us.
March 14 (Eliminator 1): Islamabad United vs Karachi Kings (7pm start).