A remarkable unbeaten 151-run partnership between Iftikhar Ahmed and Colin Munro enabled Islamabad United to seal a comprehensive eight-wicket victory against defending champions Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday night.
Chasing a victory target of 191 Iftikhar and New Zealander left-hander Munro decimated the Karachi bowling coupled with poor fielding with 151 runs stand off only 79 deliveries.
Munro scored 88 off 56 balls (12 fours and two sixes) and player-of-the-match Iftikhar amassed 71 off only 39 balls (five sixes and five fours) to confirm Islamabad a place in the playoffs after six wins in eight matches.
Munro was let off on 34 when Waqas Maqsood dropped a catch off Abbas Afridi. He escaped again on 69 and had a spat with Karachi captain Imad over a no-ball ruling after getting caught off a high full toss.
Despite early dismissals of Usman Khawaja and PSL debutant Mohammad Akhlaq, Islamabad displayed their firepower they showed against Lahore Qalandars on Sunday. Munro and Iftikhar led them to their target with eight balls to spare.
With this emphatic victory, Islamabad United surged ahead of Lahore Qalandars on the points table.
KARACHI INNINGS: Scintillating knocks by Babar Azam and Najibullah Zadran propelled Karachi to 190-4 after Shadab Khan chose to bowl.
Babar played a magnificent innings of 81 and Najeeb contributed 71. Their 117-run partnership off 69 deliveries helped Kings put up a competitive score.
Babar took 54 deliveries to compile 81 hitting seven fours and three sixes.
Afghan left-hander Najib supported him with 42-ball 71 laced with five fours and four sixes.
With the victory, Islamabad got at the top of points table with 12 points from 8 games, followed by Lahore Qalandars who have 10 points from 7 games.
Islamabad United: Shadab Khan (c), Ahmed Saifi Abdullah, Ali Khan, Akif Javed, Asif Ali, Brandon King, Colin Munro, Fawad Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Mohammad Akhlaq, Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir, Umar Amin, Usman Khawaja, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Zameer.
Karachi Kings: Imad Wasim (c), Abbas Afridi, Amir Yamin, Arshad Iqbal, Babar Azam, Chadwick Walton, Danish Aziz, Martin Guptill, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Haris, Thisara Perera, Najeebullah Zadran, Noor Ahmed, Qasim Akram, Sharjeel Khan, Waqas Maqsood and Zeeshan Malik.