Luke Ronchi smashed fiery 94 runs to help Islamabad United demolish Karachi Kings by eight wickets in the qualifier of the Pakistan Super League in Dubai on Sunday to take the former champions into the final.
Ronchi finished with 39-ball 94 studded with five sixes and 12 boundaries as Islamabad romped home with 45 balls to spare to stun Karachi Kings whose 154-4 in 20 overs was made to look a mediocre total.
Karachi Kings will now wait to see who wins the first eliminator between defending champions Peshawar Zalmi and twice runners-up Quetta Gladiators in Lahore on Tuesday. Karachi Kings will face the winner of that match in Lahore on Wednesday.
Samit Patel made 14 not out which cruelly stopped Ronchi’s hundred by just six runs.
Ronchi was ruthless from the start as Islamabad took 14 in first Mohammad Amir’s over before Usman Shinwari’s second cost just four. But Ronchi demolished the attack with 16 in Tymal Mills’ third, 16 off Shahid Afridi’s fourth and another big 20 off Shinwari’s over.
Ronchi raced to the fastest PSL fifty off just 19 balls with seven boundaries and three sixes. He bettered his own record of the fastest 50, 22 balls against Lahore Qalandars to add to his 23-ball 50 against Karachi Kings in the league phase.
Karachi Kings’ fielders were also sloppy in the field with Ronchi let off at 56 by Shinwari off his own bowling before Khurram Manzoor dropping an easy catch of Amir’s delivery. Shahid Afridi also dropped a forceful return catch of Ronchi when he was 63. Tymal Mills also let off Sahibzada Farhan on one — capping a miserable day for the Karachi Kings.
When Mohammad Irfan came to bowl, Ronchi was equally brutal, smacking him for a hat-trick of boundaries to bring the target within 30 runs.
Karachi Kings were slow at the start as they lost Khurram Manzoor (six) and Babar Azam (nought) in one Mohammad Sami’s over and 2-17 became 3-46 when Eoin Morgan was dismissed by Ammad Butt for 21.
Denly and Ingram steadied the innings with Ingram lucky to get a life on 18 when he was dropped by Hussain Talat. Ingram took full advantage of that life, smashing six sixes and a boundary to help Karachi Kings add 58 in the last five overs.
Denly was also productive, reaching his fifty off 45 deliveries before he stepped on to his stumps off Faheem Ashraf. Shahid Afridi looked in pain as he couldn’t run properly because of swelling in his knee.
Sami was the best Islamabad bowler with 2-20 in his four overs.
The tournament shifts to Lahore with the first eliminator on Tuesday, with defending champions Peshawar Zalmi taking on Quetta.