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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

PSL 2018: Shahid Afridi takes centre stage with wonder catch as Karachi Kings beat Quetta Gladiators

Win by 19 runs for Karachi in Dubai adds weight to expectation they will be title challengers this season.

Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim took two wickets to help inspire his side to victory over Quetta Gladiators. Pawan Singh / The National
Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim took two wickets to help inspire his side to victory over Quetta Gladiators. Pawan Singh / The National

Karachi Kings underlined their title-credentials as they won their HBL Pakistan Super League opener against Quetta Gladiators by 19 runs.

The Karachi-franchise failed to make the final of the first two PSL seasons, despite having an enviable array of talent to pick from. Unheralded Quetta, by contrast, were runners-up on each occasion.

Karachi signalled their intention to right the wrongs of the past, though, on the first Friday of the new campaign at Dubai International Stadium.

Colin Ingram, the South African batsman, muscled them to 149 for nine from their 20 overs, as he made 41 from 21 balls.

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Veteran Australian allrounder Shane Watson was the pick of the Quetta bowlers with three for 22.

Faced with Karachi’s impressive battery of bowlers, the target proved well beyond Quetta. Captain Imad Wasim took two for 19 from his four overs, and Tymal Mills and Mohammed Irfan Jr took two wickets apiece.

The fixture was chiefly memorable for a remarkable boundary catch by Shahid Afridi, on his debut for his new franchise.

The seasoned allrounder’s switch from Peshawar Zalmi to the Kings was the main talking point of the PSL off-season.

He took no time in impressing his new fans – although the fact it came in the field, rather than with bat or ball, might have seemed a surprise.

Fielding at long-on, Afridi caught a towering drive by Umar Amin, one-handed. As he ran across the boundary, he relayed the ball back in field, and was able to turn, regain his place in the field of play, then complete the catch.

“These days, I try to hide myself on the field but Babar [Azam] told me to field in the deep,” said Afridi, who took one for 23 from the four overs he bowled himself.

“It worked well. Fielding is an art, you have to enjoy it. If you don't, you will be found out. You have to be ready all the time.”