Asif Ali’s Shahid Afridi-like volatility with the bat has long depressed Pakistan fans but he has almost always been useful in PSL. But his current bad patch was such that even Islamabad fans were worried if he’d come good this season. But come good is exactly what he did and in uncharacteristic fashion too.
Against Lahore in the last game, he came in when Islamabad were 20-5 and staring at a lopsided defeat. Asif, never known to be a man of crisis, scored a typically whirlwind 75 off 43 under pressure and reminded his critics of his talent that delivers at PSL-level but doesn’t at stages higher.
His and Iftikhar Ahmed’s (49) 123-run stand for the sixth wicket propelled Islamabad to a more than respectable 152. Then, the Islamabad bowlers, led by Musa Khan (three-for), manufactured an incredible batting collapse that saw Lahore go from 54-1 to 100-9 and then 125 all-out.
The impressive come-from-behind win was a timely boost for Islamabad, who were reeling from the loss of star pacer Hasan Ali’s decision to leave the tournament and fly back home. Already without Faheem Ashraf, some had started counting the capital city side out but the win could change that perception.
Having seen other teams rack up impressive wins over the last few days, Karachi Kings faithful might feel a little concerned about their team’s slide down the table that sees them sit fourth in the table currently.
However, if you think about it, during the Abu Dhabi leg they have only played a single match, which was a close defeat to Multan Sultans. Thus, the defending champions should not have much to be worried about.
Some can read things in Mohammad Amir’s 42-0 bowling figures against Multan or Babar Azam’s 85 that was on the slower side. Such conclusions would be premature at this point as Karachi has a lot of proven scorers and wicket takers, and a one bad day at office should not define anyone’s caliber and potential.