Sports

Islamabad storms into PSL final as Ronchi cleans up Karachi

Another aggressive batting display by Luke Ronchi made the 155 chase look easy for Islamabad United in the qualifier against Karachi Kings in Dubai on Sunday.
What could be easily described as ‘the best innings of the PSL’, the Kiwi batsman scored 94 runs off 39 balls, including 12 fours and five sixes on the strike rate of 241.02. The Duminy-led team completed their chase in 12.3 overs.
United secured the most convincing victory in the tournament’s history in terms of balls (45 balls remaining); United’s 103 off 8.1 overs was the fastest team 100 in PSL.
Karachi, however, are not eliminated. They’ll face the winners of the first Eliminator between Quetta and Peshawar.
Ronchi was given assistance by the cameos of Sahibzada Farhan, Alex Hales and Samit Patel with their innings of 29, 14, 14 respectively.
Resilient fifties by Colin Ingram and Joe Denly lifted Karachi to 154-4 after Eoin Morgan opted to bat first. But the unstoppable Ronchi blasted the fastest half-century in PSL history (from just 19 balls) to make a mockery of Karachi bowling.
It appears that the lady luck was standing with the Kiwi opener as he was thrice dropped by the Kings’ players while he was on 56, 57 and 63.
1st inning
It was anything but an ideal start for Karachi; Mohammad Sami and Amad Butt gave Islamabad United early breakthroughs after Karachi came in to bat first at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Sami removed Khurram Manzoor (6) with a blinder of a catch off his own delivery, and Babar Azam (0) off the last ball of the same over, leaving Karachi at 17-2 after 4 overs.
Youngster Amad Butt dismissed skipper Eoin Morgan for 21 off his very first ball, as Karachi stumbled to 46-3.
But an unbeaten 68 off 39 balls by Ingram neutralised Islamabad’s bowling, taking Karachi to a respectable total despite a wobbly start.
He was helped by Denly, who was out hit wicket after a 46-ball 51.
Mohammad Sami led the bowling attack with 2 wickets in return for 20 runs off his 4 overs. Faheem Ashraf and Amad Butt took one wicket each.
Islamabad United were without captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who is out of cricket action due to a hairline fracture in his wrist.
South Africa’s JP Duminy led the side in Misbah’s absence. Sahibzada Farhan is in for Misbah, Samit Patel for Steven Finn, Mohammad Sami for Zafar Gohar, and Luke Ronchi for Chadwick Walton.
Karachi Kings were unchanged. Shahid Afridi played despite an injury scare earlier when he was reported to be suffering from knee pain and swelling.