Islamabad United ended Lahore Qalandars’ journey in the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL), paving way for Karachi Kings to qualify for the playoffs, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Kings qualified for the playoffs with a better head-to-head record as United cruised to a five-wicket win over Qalandars.
After losing openers Dwayne Smith (11) and Sharjeel Khan (5) early in the innings, United capitalised on a solid 69-run stand for the third wicket between Brad Haddin and Khalid Latif.
Haddin scored 54 off 42 deliveries with five fours and two sixes, whereas Latif, continuing his impressive run in the PSL, scored 25 off 24 balls. Both Haddin and Latif were set on course to complete the target but ran themselves out in the middle of the innings.
Qalandars pace spearhead Ehsan Adil tried to bring his team back into the contest by trapping Asif Ali leg before for three, leaving United five down for 126.
But the United skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (38 off 19, with five fours) partnered with Azhar Mahmood (12 off nine balls) to establish a match-winning 25-run partnership for the sixth wicket and take their side home.
Things might have been different for Qalandars had Zia-ul-Haq hung on to Misbah’s catch in the 18th over. Misbah, in his attempt to go over the top, mishit a Dwayne Bravo delivery and the ball went straight into the air only to be landed safely as Zia, who was only a feet away, didn’t attempt to catch it.
For Qalandars, Zia-ul-Haq remained the most successful bowler by claiming two wickets for 26 runs in his three-over spell.
Earlier, Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal scored quick half-centuries as Lahore Qalandars managed to recover from early blows and post 150-5 in 20 overs.
Maqsood scored 57 off 44 deliveries in an innings which included five fours and two sixes. Akmal, coming to bat at number five, scored an unbeaten 72 off 49 balls, hitting five fours and three sixes.
Maqsood and Akmal established a crucial 97-run stand for the fourth wicket after United left the Qalandars batting line-up struggling at 6-3 in just 2.4 overs.
Qalandars skipper Azhar Ali was the first to depart on one, followed by Cameron Delport (one) and Mohammad Rizwan (zero). Later, Dwayne Bravo (13) joined Akmal for a 41-run partnership for the fifth wicket to help their side post a competitive total.
Mohammad Irfan was the pick of bowlers for United with figures 4-0-22-3. Rumman Raees also claimed a wicket after giving away 31 runs in his four-over spell.
Islamabad United captain Misbah-ul-Haq had won the toss and decided to field first.
Dwayne Smith made his way into the United squad while his Windies teammate Chris Gayle was ruled out of the Qalandars’ playing XI.
Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Islamabad United and Karachi Kings will compete for the playoffs starting Friday, February 19.