PSL-Karachi Kings
Relieved Karachi Kings players walk back after a 14-run win over Quetta Gladiators, which helped them make the play-offs on better net run-rate on Saturday. Image Credit: Twitter

Kolkata: The last piece of jigsaw in the play-off battle of Pakistan Super League 2021 fell into place on Saturday with Karachi Kings, the defending champions, making the last four after beating Quetta Gladiators by 14 runs in a do-or-die last league game in Abu Dhabi.

After a day’s gap on Sunday, table-toppers Islamabad United will face second-placed Multan Sultans in the first Qualifier at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday. The Eliminator between third and fourth-placed Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings will be the second game of the day, with the loser of the Qualifier and winners of the Eliminator squaring off on Tuesday for the second finalist’s berth.

The final is scheduled on June 24 (Thursday) from 8 pm UAE time.

Karachi finished on 10 points alongside Lahore Qalandars after the win over Quetta, but their better net run-rate knocked out 2020 finalists Lahore Qalandars from the play-offs. Quetta finished on the bottom of the table with only two wins from 10 games.

Danish Aziz’s cameo effort of 45 runs off just 13 balls, which saw the left-hander smacking 33 runs in Jack Wildermuth’s penultimate over of the innings with four consecutive sixes and two boundaries. propelled Karachi to a challenging total of 176 for seven.

Quetta, who endured a miserable campaign this season, made five changes in their last league game but ended up at 162 for seven. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was unbeaten on 51 off 33 balls.

Left-arm spinner Arish Ali Khan, the Quetta debutant, grabbed 4-28 as Karachi slipped to 121 for five in the 17th over but Aziz’s masterful knock turned the tide in Karachi’s favour. Wildermuth was brought into the attack in place of fast bowler Naseem Shah, who pulled a calf muscle just before he was about to bowl the penultimate over, and limped off the field.

Later Saturday, league leaders Islamabad beat Multan by four wickets to consolidate their spot at the top of the standings. Mohammad Wasim took 4-31 from four overs as Islamabad restricted Multan to 149 from their 20 overs after captain Shadab Khan won the toss and elected to field.

Shan Masood topscored for Multan with 59 off 37 balls, with six boudaries and three sixes, but the opener lost partners at regular intervals.

Khan led the reply for Islamabad with 35 from 27 blls and shared handy patnerships with Muhammad Akhlaq (26) and Hussain Talat (34) to win with two balls to spare.


Play-offs (Monday)

Qualifier: Islamabad vs Multan (5pm UAE)

Eliminator: Peshawar vs Karachi (10 pm)

Second Qualifier: Tuesday (8 pm)

Final: Thursday (8 pm)