Islamabad United 156 for 2 (Ronchi 71, Duminy 43*) beat Karachi Kings 153 for 6 (Azam 55, Manzoor 51, Faheem 3-23) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Luke Ronchi came screaming back into form with a 23-ball fifty that ended with him getting 71 off 37 and setting Islamabad United for a breezy chase that they finished with 16 balls to spare. Ronchi's blitz in the Powerplay took a slow pitch out of the equation after Karachi Kings had huffed and heaved their way to 154, a total that appeared competitive during the innings break. JP Duminy, who opened with Ronchi, made use of the release in pressure with an unbeaten 43.
Islamabad had put Karachi in and were rewarded early when Mohammad Sami burst through Joe Denly's defences. What followed was a 101-run partnership between Khurram Manzoor (51) and Babar Azam (55) for the second wicket. The pair looked content with offering the full face of the bat through most of the innings as balls barely rose above knee height off the surface. Although their stand didn't blatantly hurt Islamabad through it's scoring rate - largely hovering around run-a-ball before an unavoidable push - it set up a slog-overs finish that saw Mohammad Rizwan make a whirlwind 21 off 9 in the face of regular wickets to lift them to 153 for 6.
But Ronchi's superior hitting ability on the leg side was fed after Imad Wasim had bowled a tight first over that cost only one run. Mohammed Amir, in particular, struggled during the Powerplay, constantly straying onto the pads of both Ronchi and Duminy. The pair put on a century stand of their own, but it came off only 65 balls. By the time Mohammad Irfan Jr. got the breakthrough, Karachi were well out of it.
Where it was won
Karachi had a century stand for the second wicket that came at just over seven per over. This was after a decided effort to accelerate towards the end of the innings. Manzoor and Azam played 36% and 37% dot balls respectively through their innings' and Islamabad merely seeked to avoid a similar effort. Not only did they reduce the number of dot balls, they managed regular boundaries during the Powerplay. On a slow pitch, they made full use of the skiddy new ball.
The men that won it
Most of Islamabad's bowlers had economy rates of under six per over through Karachi's innings, but Faheem Ashraf was the only one who managed to come through with his figures intact. The fast bowler came on as Karachi were looking to accelerate - Azam had stepped out to launch Shadab Khan straight over his head to mark the start of this phase - and managed to remove and imperious looking Manzoor and the dangerous Colin Ingram, before capping it off by ending Imad Wasim's fledgling cameo. He finished with 3 for 23 in his four overs.
Karachi still managed to make 82 off their last eight overs and had the table-toppers had the momentum at the halfway stage. Considering how the pitch had played all evening, they even seemed to have edged ahead with a 150-plus score. But Ronchi's 71 undid all of that.
Moment of the match
Ronchi brought out a collection of classy leg side pick-ups as he blazed away at the start. The best of them came halfway through the fifth over, when he clipped Usman Khan over deep square with ease. Granted that it was a full ball on his pads, but Ronchi did stunningly to connect on the shot without any foot movement. It was all wrist to set the precedent - he was rewarded with another on the pads later in the over and picked the same area once more.
Where they stand
Islamabad's win lifted them out of the bottom two and put them in the top-four cluster who all have three wins each now. Karachi registered their first loss, but their point from the abandoned game keeps them tied at the top of the table with Multan Sultans.