Islamabad United have dethroned Lahore Qalandars as the table-toppers following a 28-run victory in Dubai.
Lahore have now slipped to the second spot.
Both teams have 10 points in hand, but United have the edge owing to the best net run rate (+0.956) in the league.
For a side that was 47/5 at one stage in the first inning, this win is an instance of how well a deep batting line can help a team recover.
Asif Ali to the rescue
United hard-hitter Asif Ali put on a stellar performance against Lahore Qalandars at a time when most of the Islamabad batsmen were unable to prolong their stay at the crease.
His 75 off 43 propelled United to 152/7, a decent total that turned out to be just enough for Shadab Khan’s troops.
The right-handed slogger was middling the ball sweeter than ever.
He even creamed Rashid Khan for boundaries which most batters around the world find extremely hard to do.
Middle-order woes continue for Lahore
Fakhar Zaman and captain Sohail Akhter gave a solid start at the top, but the middle-order failed to carry on.
Muhammad Hafeez and Ben Dunk, who have been the Qalandars’ backbone in batting, haven’t yet turned up with their A-game in the Dubai leg of the PSL.
They have lost only two of their last games this season and the sooner the Hafeez-Dunk duo returns to form, the better.
Musa shines with three scalps
Musa Khan delivered the goods when Muhammad Wasim failed.
The right-arm pacer picked three wickets for 18 runs in his quota to dismantle the Lahore batting line-up.
Fakhar Zaman, who looked dangerous for his 44, was sent packing by the 20-year-old.
His other two victims were two game-changers as well: Ben Dunk and Hafeez.
Islamabad United 152 for 7 (Asif 75, Iftikhar 49, Faulkner 3-19) beat Lahore Qalandars 124 (Zaman 44, Musa 3-18, Shadab 2-14) by 28 runs.
Match preview: Islamabad United vs Karachi Kings
Defending PSL champions Karachi Kings will look to improve their position in the points table when they take on first-placed Islamabad United in Dubai on Monday.
Probable best performer
Pakistan captain and Kings opener, Babar Azam, is well known for his consistency in white-ball cricket.
While Sharjeel sees off the new ball with cracking hits, it’s Babar Azam whose stay is most significant to Karachi’s cause.
He is this season’s highest scorer (343 runs) and averages just over 114.
The Pakistan skipper is expected to hammer United bowlers on Monday.
After spanking Lahore Qalandars in the last outing, United are brimming with confidence.
Their sublime form is likely to help them overcome the Karachi showdown.
Kings have been inconsistent in the tournament, which is why they now languish at the fourth spot.
They have won thrice and lost many despite having one of the best batting attacks in the world.
They have Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan and now Martin Guptill up their sleeves.
A familiar pattern has been seen in Karachi’s losses this season – Sharjeel tries to hit one too many shots and gets dismissed.
Azam then has to prolong his stay with wickets tumbling from the other end. This results in a mediocre total for Imad Wasim’s men.