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Islamabad notches crucial 5-wicket win over Karachi in PSL

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Fast bowlers Tymal Mills and Faheem Ashraf toppled Karachi Kings' top-order and earned Islamabad United a vital five-wicket win in the Pakistan Super League on Thursday.

Islamabad jumped to No. 2 with nine points and superior net-run rate over Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi, who also have nine points in the push for the playoffs.

With six points, Karachi needs to win its remaining two games and hope other teams lose.

Mills, playing his first game in the Rawalpindi-leg this season, grabbed 3-34 while Ashraf got the wickets of opening batters Shan Masood (10) and Tim Seifert (26) with his deceptive bowling to restrict Karachi to 150-7.

Islamabad reached 151-5 in 18.4 to notch its fourth win.

Left-arm fast bowler Mir Hamza (3-41) gave Karachi a glimmer of hope when he dismissed power-hitters Alex Hales (18) and Colin Munro (9) inside the batting power play.

But captain Shadab Khan (34) and Salman Ali Agha (33) revived the run-chase with a watchful 56-run stand before Islamabad lost three wickets in space of 18 runs.

Agha feathered a catch to wicketkeeper Seifert in Blessing Muzarabani’s return spell and Azam Khan (9) offered a regulation return catch to leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood. Hamza then deceived Shadab with sharp bounce and found the outside edge of the bat before Haider Ali (26 not out ) and Ashraf (12 not out) guided Islamabad home.

Earlier, Masood’s struggling first season as Karachi skipper continued as he tried to flick Ashraf, and Imad Wasim took a brilliant running catch over his shoulder at short third-man. Masood has scored only 134 runs in eight innings without a half-century.

Seifert couldn’t accelerate against pace and spin before Munro took another brilliant catch as veteran Shoaib Malik (1) and Mohammad Nawaz (5) also got dismissed while going for big shots.

Top-scorer Kieron Pollard (39) and James Vince (29) shared a 58-run stand before Mills broke through as he had Vince caught behind off a delivery that seamed away from the Englishman.

Pollard, who hit three sixes and three fours, also gave a skier to Ashraf at third man in the 18th over as Islamabad kept picking wickets to restrict Karachi in the death overs.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket