Karachi Kings on Wednesday beat defending champions of the Pakistan Super League Islamabad United by 44 runs in the eliminator in Sharjah.
With the victory, Karachi are now set to face-off against Peshawar Zalmi on Friday in the knockout match for a place in the final against Quetta Gladiators.
Islamabad had an upper hand in the match after they won the toss and opted to bowl first. Karachi batting once against failed them and the team could only manage 126 runs in 19.4 overs.
With Islamabad looking comfortably home even before the second innings started, Karachi bowlers, especially spinners Imad Wasim and Usama Mir, showed character and struck the defending champions hard. The whole team was bowled out for 82 runs in 15.2 overs.
"The bounce was on the low side," said man-of-the-match Imad, who took 3-18 in his four overs. "I think I like to perform when there is a crunch situation. I planned to bowl short of the length. If you can’t take wickets, you can’t win games. Our plan was to get wickets [since we had a low score to defend]."
Meanwhile, losing captain Misbahul Haq said the team failed as a batting unit after their bowlers had put up a good show.
"I think bowlers did very well to restrict them to 126," said Misbah. "We didn’t bat well. We should have chased that target. We lost early wickets, pressure started building and then they bowled well."
Karachi captain Kumar Sangakkara was a happy man and said the team had finally started to play as a unit.
"We were quite short on runs but guys bowled really well, especially Imad and Usama," he said. "The ball was staying low. Imad bowled really well. The guys are starting to play like a team. It’s a tough game to play [T20 format] but that is why people love watching it."
Over 15.2: ISL 82 all out (target: 127)
CAUGHT AT LONG OFF! Pollard cannot stay out of Karachi's victories. Kings have eliminated defending champions, beating them by 44 runs.
Amir comes on to finish things off.
Over 15: ISL 82-9 (target: 127)
BOWLED! Amad Butt (7) watches his timber dismantled. Slow ball and he missed it completely attempting a wild swing.
FOUR! Amad Butt hits it with power. Long on had no chance to save it.
Sohail Khan is back after eight straight overs from spinners.
Over 14: ISL 77-8 (target: 127)
Usama Mir on a hat-trick! Rumman Raees let's it go. 50 needed off 36 now by Islamabad. Karachi need only two wickets.
LBW appeal on Mohammad Sami, umpire says no, but Usama reviews it quickly. The ball has hit the pad first. Islamabad have only two wickets remaining now. The match is Karachi's to lose now.
CAUGHT BEHIND! Islamabad lose their last-best-man standing, Asif Ali departs and so do, nearly, defending champions' chances of making it to the final.
Usama Mir in for his last over; 53 off 42 needed by Islamabad United.
Over 13: ISL 74-6 (target: 127)
LBW! Nicholas pooran for his first PSL game. Scores 1 off 3 and is given out. Umpires says yes, Pooran reviews and it's hitting. GONE! Karachi in for a big upset. Amad Butt joins opener Asif Ali.
Imad Wasim for his last over. He is such an impact player.
Over 12: ISL 70-5 (target: 127)
OUT! Shadab Khan caught by Bopara. A thriller is in the making.
FOUR! Swept towards fine leg by Asif Ali. Wonder boy Shadab Khan has come on to bat for Islamabad meanwhile.
Over 11: ISL 61-4 (target: 127)
BOWLED! Imad finds a way through Watto's defence.
Imad for his third on the trot. Karachi want wickets from him. A couple at least to make the game interesting.
Over 10: ISL 56-3 (target: 127)
FOUR! Watto sweeps and get a boundary from square leg.
Over 9: ISL 49-3 (target: 127)
Shane Watson joins Asif Ali.
BOWLED! Misbah tries to cut but the ball keeps it trajectory straight and hits his off stump.
Over 8: ISL 47-2 (target: 127)
Only five off it.
Usama Mir with his leg spin.
Over 7: ISL 42-2 (target: 127)
Eight runs off the over courtesy a FOUR by Misbah.
Imad Wasim brought on.
Over 6: ISL 35-2 (target: 127)
FOUR! Full and Asif hits it straight past the bowler's feet.
SIX! Pulled by Asif Ali over square leg.
Over 5: ISL 22-2 (target: 127)
Six runs off his over.
Usman Khan Shinwari bowls his second.
Over 4: ISL 16-2 (target: 127)
Only four off his over. Misbahul Haq and Asif Ali will be asked to bat for the next few overs.
Sohail Khan called to bowl.
Over 3: ISL 12-2 (target: 127)
First two overs went for ten runs as Islamabad started slowly in a small run chase. However, in the third over, Mohammad Amir struck twice to ring warning bells for the defending champions. Islamabad will have to bat well to beat this bowling attack. Game on in Sharjah!
Over 20: KK 126 all out
Karachi Kings have been under-par throughout the tournament except on a few occasions which helped them qualify for this eliminator. Their batting today failed them, however, they still have 20 overs and 10 wickets to play with. Can they do something miraculous tonight!
BOWLED! and that is it. Karachi have been bowled out. A fuller delivery beats Usman Khan Shinwari and disturbs the stumps.
Single and a dot follow.
OUT! Usama Mir caught at mid-off.
Sami in for the last over.
Over 19: KK 125-8
Three runs and as many wickets of Raees' over.
BOWLED! Raees missed his hat-trick but he takes three in this over. Sohail Khan departs and Karachi are in shambles.
TWO in TWO for Raees! He is on a hat-trick. Rumman gets Imad and then Pollard out on successive balls. What a bowler; great mind and a smart operator.
Raees for his fourth and the penultimate over.
Over 18: KK 122-5
FOUR! A single, this boundary by Imad which runs down to the fine leg boundary off an inside edge, and another single to end the over.
Only two off first three balls.
Over 17: KK 114-5
Pollard beaten by Raees' variety on two occasions. He takes a single to end the over, however.
Raees follows it up with two in the block hole. Dot and a single off them.
SIX! Imad Wasim dispatches a short ball over wide long on.
Rumman Raees is back!
Over 16: KK 106-5
Imad Wasim joins Pollard.
RUN OUT! Malik tries to take two, a good throw comes in at the keeper's end and Malik is short of the crease. Karachi in trouble at the moment.
WHAT A CATCH from Shadab Khan. Digs it out of the ground. Great, great lad for Pakistan's future. Meanwhile, Malik is joined by the big man Keiron Pollard.
Over 15: KK 100-3
Hundred up for Karachi. How many more can they get?
Over 14: KK 92-3
FOUR! to end the over. It was full and Ravi didn't think twice about hitting it hard past the bowler towards long off.
Over 13: KK 84-3
LBW! Googly beat Ravi, he wants to review it. Replay shows it's pad first. Ball tracker now... it's just hitting the off-stump, however the impact is outside the line. There is one green box for Ravi and he survives!
Shadab bowls his fourth on the trot. He is one the best finds from this edition of PSL.
Over 12: KK 81-3
FOUR! Ravi plays a dot and pulls the next ball for a boundary. Will he stand up today for the Kings?
Ravi Bopara joins Malik.
OUT! Sanga (17 off 19) tries to go over short midwicket fielder and throws it in Misbah's hands. He is, one again, disappointed with himself.
Shane Watson. Karachi need some to switch gears now. Sanga or Malik, who can take the charge?
Over 11: KK 74-2
FOUR! Malik leans forward and times it past point fielder, beats deep cover fielder to the boundary.
Over 10: KK 66-2
FOUR! Watto sends one to Sanga's legs. He guides it to square leg.
Shane Watson now.
Over 9: KK 57-2
FOUR to start and a FOUR to end it! Sangakkara edges one to the third man region, Malik goes for the square leg boundary.
Over 8: KK 48-2
Three off Irfan's over.
Over 7: KK 45-2
Kumar Sangakkara and Shoaib Malik will take Karachi forward now.
LBW! Googly leaves Babar Azam (25 off 21) clueless.
Shadab Khan with his leg-spin.
Over 6: KK 42-1
BOWLED! Edged on the stumps by Gayle (17 off 15).
SIX! Gayle goes big over square leg.
Over 5: KK 35-0
FOUR! Same area, this time Gayle moves back and makes room to play that powerful drive.
FOUR! Slammed through covers by Gayle.
Over 4: KK 25-0
FOUR! Slow ball, on Babar's legs, he just glances it past Mohammad Irfan at short fine leg. Don't expect a chase.
Rumman Raees now.
Over 3: KK 18-0
FOUR! Add one more. Babar sets himself and cracks one more. Two singles to end the over then.
FOUR and FOUR! After that slow start, Babar finds the fence thrice, on consecutive balls.
FOUR! Babar finds the fence on the second ball of the over. This might be a record for the most balls taken by any team to get off the mark in a T20.
Irfan again to Babar.
Over 2: KK 0-0
It's a maiden yet again!
Starts with five dots. Kings thinking it's an ODI or Test match! Wakey wakey sires.
Over 1: KK 0-0
Five dots to start off with.
Babar Azam and Chris Gayle have opened the innings for Karachi. Mohammad Irfan has the new ball for Islamabad.
Misbah, for the upteenth time, has won the toss and opted to bowl first.