- 16-year-old Noor Ahmed's spell orchestrated Karachi's much-needed win
Teenage sensation Noor Ahmed Lakanwal and Mohammad Ilyas get Karachi Kings over the line, beating Lahore Qalandars by 7 runs in yet another nail-biting finish at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Chasing 177 runs on a flat, batting wicket, Lahore managed to get 169/7, falling marginally short of the target.
Earlier, Karachi Kings skipper Imad Wasim opted to bat first after winning the toss; a bit unusual, as teams usually look to defend in Abu Dhabi's dewy conditions. The decision was probably inspired by the high-scoring first match that was played on the same wicket.
Nonetheless, it proved correct as despite losing its main striker, Sharjeel Khan, for 11, Babar Azam and Martin Guptill faced no problem early on. The duo added 88 runs for the second wicket before Guptill got cramped by a seeming-in delivery of Danial. He got out just when he was looking good for 43 off 31.
In the later part of the innings, the ball suddenly started to grip and spin, causing problems for batters. Consequently, the next three wickets fell for 23 runs, as Rashid Khan removed promising Babar Azam for 53, and powerplayer, Chadwick Walton for 10.
Imad Wasim (30), who had walked in early than usual, played sensibly through the tricky period along with Danish Aziz (16) and took Karachi Kings to 176/5.
Rashid Khan was the pick of the bowlers for Lahore with two wickets for 25 runs in his four overs.
In response, Lahore cruised to 34 in the first three overs before throwing off another good start. It was captain Sohail Akhtar who departed first after being trapped before the wicket on one of Ilyas's tailing-in deliveries.
The breakthrough produced three more wickets within the space of 21 runs, as young Afghan wrist-spinner Noor Ahmed ran through the middle order with his brilliant spell of 19-2-0-4.
Seasoned all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez who had been controlling one end, fell on Noor's final ball of the spell while trying to smash him through the covers. He scored 36 off as many balls.
The things looked gloomy Lahore Qalandars who required 85 runs from the final six overs. This was when Tim David and James Faulkner hit the next gear and started bashing Kings bowlers all over the stadium. The couple added 58 runs off four overs to give Qalandars a ray of hope for a come-from-behind win.
Unfortunately, both batsmen got out one after another just when they were looking dangerous.
However, the drama continued till the last over as Ilyas who was defending 20 off the final over, got hit for a six in the next two balls after getting Faulkner out. Eight were required from the final ball; a wide or no-ball could turn the table on Karachi Kings. However, he held his nerves and bowled a dot ball, delivering his team a morale-boosting seven-run victory.
Karachi's Noor Ahmed was picked Man of the Match for his brilliant spell.