Karachi Whites got themselves into the top four of the National T20 Cup group stages with a simple six-wicket win over Islamabad at the Rawalpindi Stadium in their late match on Friday.
Islamabad skipper Naeem Anjum opted to bowl first after winning the toss but saw his bowlers struggle against the Karachi Whites top-order.
Opener Zain Abbas struggled in his 18-ball 10 but his partner Ahsan Ali and one-down batsman Asad Shafiq took the game away from Islamabad.
Ali scored 85 off just 52 balls before being dismissed in the penultimate over of the innings, while Shafiq made an unbeaten 73 off 46 balls. Their 128-run stand took Karachi Whites to an impressive 182-2.
“I enjoyed my batting today,” said 22-year-old Ali. “It was my day and I was able to pull off the strokes I tried. It was also my highest score in the format so it was a great feeling.”
Karachi Whites skipper Akbarur Rehman also praised the two batsmen. “Ali batted really well today with Shafiq,” he said. “This victory was down to them putting up this big total and it will help us in qualifying for the next round.”
Left-arm spinner Mohammad Irfan was the only Islamabad bowler to not leak runs, going for 23 in his four overs but his tight bowling didn’t yield the wicket it perhaps deserved.
In contrast, Islamabad’s top-order struggled to cope with the Karachi Whites bowlers and wickets tumbled at alarmingly regular intervals, leaving them 59-6 to virtually end the match as a contest within 10 overs of their chase.
Number eight batsman Shehzad Azam gave their score some degree of respectability with an unbeaten 44, while Tabish Khan was the pick of the bowlers for Karachi Whites with 2-20 in his four overs as he dismissed both openers to ensure Islamabad were never really in with a chance during the chase.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2016.