Islamabad United made three wins in a row and increased their lead at the top of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 table to 12 points as a record 150-run unbeaten partnership between Colin Munro and Iftikhar Ahmed guided them to an eight-wicket win over Karachi Kings on Monday.
Chasing 191 to win, United got off to a shaky start as they lost Usman Khawaja (12 off 16) and debutant Muhammad Akhlaq (1 off 2) in the powerplay with 41 runs on the board.
Iftikhar joined Munro as the pair began their onslaught and were fortunate to receive two lifelines each. Iftikhar was dropped by bowler Imad Wasim when he was batting on seven and once again on 46.
Munro was dropped on 34 in the 12th over by Waqas Maqsood off Abbas Afridi and was given another chance when he was caught off the full toss bowled by Thisara Perera which later was adjudicated above waist height.
Munro brought up his fifth PSL half-century in 39 balls. He returned undefeated on 88 off 56, hitting 12 fours and two sixes. His partner Iftikhar scored a 39-ball 71, laced with five fours and as many sixes.
Earlier, after being put into bat, half-centuries from Babar Azam (81 off 54) and Najibullah Zadran (71 not out off 42) lifted Kings to 190 for four. The opening pair of Sharjeel Khan and Babar contributed 37 runs for the first wicket, with left-handed Sharjeel scoring 25 off 17 before being dismissed by Akif Javed in the fifth over.
Babar was aggressive from the get go and collected 17 runs of the sixth over from Ali Khan as Karachi ended the batting powerplay at 56 for one. The left-handed Najibullah joined Babar after the dismissal of Martin Guptill and the pair did the repairing work by adding 117 off 69 for the third wicket partnership.
Babar, who started his PSL career for Islamabad United in 2016, struck his 19th half-century of the tournament as he smacked seven fours and three sixes. Afghanistan international Najibullah scored his maiden fifty in the tournament in the 18th over as he hit Mohammad Wasim for 21 runs in the same over.
Karachi Kings are now on the fourth spot with six points from seven outings.