Karachi Kings 151 for 0 (Sharjeel 74*, Azam 69*) beat Lahore Qalandars 150 for 5 (Akhtar 68, Iqbal 2-15, Asif 2-34) by ten wickets
Karachi Kings snuffed out Lahore Qalandars' resurgence with a clinical performance to put themselves back in consideration for the playoffs of PSL 2020. Following a washed-out game against the Multan Sultans and a Ben Dunk-inspired defeat at Lahore's hands last week, Karachi bounced back thanks to a disciplined bowling performance that strangled Lahore's ability before cruising to the total without losing a single wicket - just the second ten-wicket win in PSL history.
Openers Babar Azam and Sharjeel Khan barely appeared to get out of the third gear, but that didn't stop them from overwhelming the Lahore bowlers completely. They scored 69 and 74 respectively and took the side to victory inside 17 overs.
Put in to bat, Lahore did get off to a solid start thanks to their ever-improving captain Sohail Akhtar, whose 49-ball 68 held together an innings that appeared to be gearing up for a big finish.
But the middle order let him down, while Karachi's accuracy and intelligence following the halfway mark ensured Lahore never really attained the fluency they required to put up a challenging total. Umaid Asif took the key wickets of Fakhar Zaman and Dunk kneecapping Lahore's big-hitting prowess, while Chirs Jordan's accuracy at the death ensured Lahore managed only 150.
Enter Azam and Sharjeel. It seemed Sharjeel might have been going too slow to start off, but seeing off the dangerous Shaheen Afridi proved a tactical masterstroke. The only way for Lahore to get into the match was to take wickets, depriving them that saw the pressure lift quickly, and the run-scoring increased exponentially. Azam was supremely untroubled, and before long, Sharjeel unleashed the big hits. It might have been billed as the contest of the season, but ended up being a cakewalk.
Star of the day
Arshad Iqbal had struggled during the early stages of the PSL, but thrust into the big game today, he repaid his franchise's faith with his best performance of the season. When he was called upon for the ninth over, Lahore were going steadily at 65 for 1, with Chris Lynn having just arrived at the crease. Iqbal was greeted by a slice behind backward point for four by Akhtar but came back strongly in the over conceding just three more while also getting rid of Lynn, who was deceived in the air and holed out to deep midwicket. Iqbal was unlucky not to have sent Akhtar back off the first ball of his next over, with Alex Hales dropping a skier. He got his man in his next over, though, with Akhtar misjudging the bounce of a delivery that struck his pads, and the lbw call withstanding despite Lahore's review. Iqbal didn't complete his quota, but the two wickets he picked up in three overs came at the cost of just 15 runs.
Miss of the day
With Dunk having proved the tormentor-in-chief for Karachi just four days ago, Lahore had high hopes from the Australian who appeared to be in the form of his life. Instead, Dunk had perhaps his worst game of the season. When he came out to bat, he struggled for fluency. Both Usama Mir, who bowled well enough for his first game of the PSL, and Jordan kept him quiet before he lost his patience. The left-hander went for a half-hearted pull shot against Asif, only for Mir at short fine leg to complete a simple catch. It had taken fourteen balls for him to score 9 runs, and his day would get worse. He put down a simple chance Sharjeel offered during the powerplay, when the Karachi opener had just scored 18. He would go on to smash 74*.
Where the teams stand
Karachi leapfrog Lahore to get to nine points and third place on the table, while Lahore stay on eight with four wins and five losses. Both teams should qualify with one more win, though Karachi have two games to get there, while Lahore's final game is likely a must-win.