Karachi Kings’ decision to bat raised eyebrows twice – firstly, when they ambled to 60 for 2 in the first 10 overs, and secondly when they lost their six wickets for 13 runs. But what they did in between eventually proved enough at the end, as their bowling attack – led by captain Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Tymal Mills – ensured that a 150 chase was a bridge too far for Quetta Gladiators.
Quetta had slumped to 15 for 3 inside the first five overs and never really recovered. There were spurts of spunk from Umar Amin (31) and Mohammad Nawaz, whose 30 off 20 balls kept his side in the hunt. But, with 37 required off 17 balls, Amir induced a faint inside edge to have Nawaz caught behind and quash the possibility of any late uprising. Earlier, with Shahid Afridi also having chipped in with an outstanding catch at the boundary to remove Amin, Quetta, which doesn’t possess the most robust middle order, entered the final phase in an even more depleted position
That Karachi got to 149 was largely due to Colin Ingram, whose 21-ball 41 injected momentum into what had been a lethargic innings up to that point. Karachi’s troubles were mainly due to Shane Watson’s canny bowling, which saw him pick up three scalps to reach 200 wickets in T20 cricket. Along with Joffra Archer, the flavour of the season, and Anwar Ali, Watson choked the flow of runs. Ingram and Ravi Bopara, though, counterpunched their way through the middle overs with a 48-run stand in 4.3 overs and gave their team the insurance that mitigated their collapse later on.
At the half-way mark, Quetta might have fancied a relatively straightforward chase. Instead, Karachi unleashed their gun bowlers and effectively killed the chase in the Powerplay. Wasim took the new ball and conceded only three runs in the first over. Watson then attempted to run himself out twice in vain in the second over bowled by Amir before eventually succeeding off the penultimate delivery.
In the next over, Asad Shafiq, probably torn between guilt for being partially responsible for Watson’s run-out and the need to ramp up the scoring rate, holed out to deep square leg. With Mills joining the party to prise out Kevin Pietersen, who departed after a couple of eye-catching strokes, Quetta found themselves at 26 for 3 in six overs. For good measure, Afridi bowled a tight spell to go for less than six runs an over and sustain the pressure.
The men that won it It can be rightly contended that but for Ingram and Bopara’s strong push Quetta might have struggled further. Further, Wasim’s tight-fisted bowling in the Powerplay cannot be overstated. However, with Quetta