Asif Ali hit a blistering half-century to steer Islamabad United to a hard-fought five-wicket win over Karachi Kings in PSL match 18 in Dubai on Wednesday.
Asif, dropped on 13 by substitute fielder Mohammad Rizwan at covers with the asking rate at 11, clobbered 38-ball 70 to help the defending champions chase down a target of 169 for their fourth win in the tournament.
But Karachi Kings did fight in the penultimate over, with 11 needed. Mohammad Amir conceded only four to leave seven off the final over bowled by Imad Wasim. Imad conceded a single off the first ball but Shadab Khan lifted him over long-on for a huge six to clinch the victory.
Karachi Kings were lifted to 168-8 by Babar Azam (68) and a rapid-fire 31-ball 56 from Liam Livingstone after they were put into bat by Islamabad United.
Asif smashed six sixes and five boundaries in his fiery knock and added an invaluable 93 for the fourth wicket with Phil Salt (46) to bring Islamabad within 49 of the target. They built the innings after teenage left-arm spinner Umer Khan (2-29) jolted Islamabad with wickets of Luke Ronchi (26) and Hussain Talat (one) in the seventh over.
Islamabad's win also changed the points table as they are now perched top of the six-team table with eight points from seven matches, four wins and three losses with a better net run-rate than Quetta Gladiators.
Quetta are now second with eight points (four wins, two defeats in six games). Peshawar Zalmi are now third with six points (three wins and two defeats in five matches), Lahore Qalandars are fourth (six points in six games with three wins and three defeats), Multan Sultans are fifth with four points (four losses and two wins in six games) and Karachi Kings are sixth (four points with two wins, four defeats in six matches).
It were Babar and Livingstone who lifted Karachi after Colin Munro flopped for the third match in a row, scoring just four before becoming Rumman Raees's first wicket in the third over.
Babar smashed two consecutive boundaries in the first over and batted more aggressively with Livingstone with whom he set the PSL record of 157 for the opening wicket in Karachi's first wicket.
Livingstone hit a four and six each off Samit Patel and then Faheem Ashraf before completing his second half-century of the tournament off just 29 balls.
But once he fell, caught at short third man off Shadab the flow of runs stopped.
Raees dismissed dangerman Colin Ingram for 13 and Imad Wasim for two to check Karachi's progress.
Babar also holed out off Faheem in the penultimate over. Karachi managed just 34 in the last five slog overs.