Danish Aziz’s quickfire 45 supported Karachi Kings to qualify playoffs at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Earlier, Karachi Kings skipper Imad Wasim won an important toss in a do-or-die game and opted to bat first.
Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam started the innings cautiously before Sharjeel Khan changed gears after the powerplay. The pair took the score to 70 for nought before Babar, who never really got going, got caught on the boundary while trying to slog-sweep one off Abdul Nasir to mid-wicket. He departed for 23 off 25 balls.
The next three wickets fell within the space of 18 runs as debutant Arish Khan struck twice in an over to remove Martin Guptill (5) and Sharjeel Khan (45), before sending back Najeebullah Zadran for 13. The debutant ended up picking four key wickets for 28 runs.
Karachi were reeling at 121/5 in 17 overs when Danish Aziz walked in. The left-handed batsman smoked 32 runs of Jack Wildermuth’s penultimate over. With his short stint of 45 off just 14 balls, Danish took Karachi to a fighting total of 176/7.
Quetta were off to a flying start because they were disrupted by Mohammad Ilyas who removed young Saim Ayub for 19 off 15. Jake Weatherald was the man to go down on 25, bowled by Arshad Iqbal.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed built a small partnership of 34 runs with Usman Khan (15) before he was removed by Ilyas.
Azam Khan also departed with 15 off 12, getting caught on the deep third man off Arshad Iqbal. Hassan Khan, who looked in good touch tonight, got run out on 24 at a time when he and Sarfaraz were changing gears. His wicket disturbed momentum as Quetta fell short of the target. Sarfaraz, the lone fighter for Gladiators, remained unbeaten for his 52 off 32 balls, scoring the only fifty for his side in the entire Abu Dhabi leg.
Mohammad Ilyas, a tad expensive tonight, picked up three key wickets for 39 runs. Arshad Iqbal also chipped in with 2 wickets for 39.