ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates: Defending champion Karachi Kings squeaked into the Pakistan Super League playoffs after beating Quetta Gladiators by 14 runs in its do-or-die last league game on Saturday.
Karachi finished on 10 points alongside Lahore Qalandars, but its better net run-rate knocked out the 2020 finalist from the playoffs.
Quetta finished on the bottom of the table with only two wins from 10 games.
Danish Aziz’s whirlwind knock of 45 runs off 13 balls lifted Karachi to 176-7. The left-hander smacked 33 runs in Jack Wildermuth’s penultimate over of the innings from four consecutive sixes and two boundaries.
Quetta, which made five changes in its last league game, ended up at 162-7. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was unbeaten on 51 off 33 balls.
Quetta debutant left-arm spinner Arish Ali Khan grabbed 4-28 as Karachi slipped to 121-5 in the 17th over. But Aziz’s masterful knock turned the tide in Karachi’s favor.
Wildermuth was brought into the attack in place of fast bowler Naseem Shah, who pulled a calf muscle just before he was about to bowl the penultimate over, and limped off the field.
Fast bowler Mohammad Ilyas (3-39) ran through the Quetta top order and Arshad Iqbal chipped in with 2-39.
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir twice came close to his first wicket in five PSL games, but first Wildermuth successfully overturned an lbw decision through television referral and Amir dropped a sitter off his own bowling off the next delivery to end up with 0-21.
PSL leader Islamabad United was playing Multan Sultans in the late game.