Karachi Kings got back to winning ways with a superb all-round effort in their 63-run win over Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League. Mickey Arthur’s side had plenty of players who stepped up and none more so than Joe Denly, who smashed his first half-century.
Here, we analyse his performance at Dubai International Stadium on Saturday.
He failed to reach double figures in his previous two matches, but Denly was on the top of his game on Saturday. He survived a dropped catch and made Multan Sultans pay . Smashed 10 fours and two sixes during a 118-run stand with Babar Azam for the second wicket. That ultimately put Karachi in a strong position.
At a time when his team needed a positive result after two losses, Denly delivered.With Lendl Simmons dismissed early on, Denly was cautious but then upped his game. It was timely knock from the English batsmen whose top score this year was 29.
Denly could have batted on if he had tackled Hardus Viljoen’s short ball better. Fetching it from outside off, Denly ended up dragging the ball, presenting a simple catch to Imran Tahir at square leg.
Coming into the game with two poor performances, Denly could not afford another batting failure and he delivered a match-winning innings. Similar knocks will be needed if Karachi are to go all the way.
Joe Denly admitted he was taken by surprise that Multan Sultans opted not to bat first after his half-century helped Karachi Kings boost their play-off hopes with a convincing 63-run victory in the Pakistan Super League on Saturday.
Multan skipper Shoaib Malik decided to field first after winning the toss at Dubai International Stadium and his decision quickly backfired as Karachi piled on their highest score in this year’s competition – 188 for 3 .
Denly propelled the innings with a 78-run knock off 55 deliveries, while Babar Azam’s 58 and a late Colin Ingram onslaught (29 from eight) added to the total.
The result meant Karachi snapped their two-match losing streak. They are now placed second on nine points with three group games to play.
Denly believes Malik made the wrong decision and his team took full advantage.
“Yes I was surprised,” he said. “As a batter, I always say if it’s a good wicket, try and get the runs on the board and put them under pressure. I’m always encouraging my captain to bat first as there was some grass and a little bit surprised they didn’t bat first.”
Denly was dropped by Ahmed Shehzad on zero and he made the tournament debutants pay big time.
After Lendl Simmons departed for 4, Denly and Azam came together and took Multan Sultan bowlers apart with a 118-run stand for the second wicket – the highest stand in PSL this year.
Denly led the assault by going on the attack with Junaid Khan, Imran Tahir and Hardus Viljoen all on the receiving end of his big hitting. By the time his 78-run knock, that included 10 boundaries and two sixes, was stopped by Hardus Viljoen, Karachi were 139-2. They ended on 188-3.
That target proved to be too much for Multan Sultans. Kumar Sangakkara and Shehzad gave them a good start with a 41-run opening stand but as soon as that was broken by Mohammad Irfan, Karachi took charge with the ball.
Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan all took one scalp while Shahid Afridi (3-18) sealed the match.
Playing in his second match after returning from injury, the Pakistan star rattled the Multan line-up, taking the wickets of big-hitters Keiron Pollard (3), Shoaib Malik (6) and Saif Badar (13).
Sohail Tanvir frustrated Karachi with an unbeaten 34 but it was too little too late for the team who have now lost their last three matches.
Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal is avoiding social media and staying close to friends and family as he looks to come out of one of the lowest points of his cricketing career.
The 27-year-old batsman was seen as the most promising talent in world cricket when he started his international career in 2009. However, countless opportunities and frustrating performances later, Umar finds himself perpetually close to being cast adrift.
The lack of confidence in his game has come to the fore in the ongoing Pakistan Super League, with the Lahore Qalandars batsman dropped from the side after just 57 runs from five matches. He does not even feature on the 15-member team sheet now.
There have been unverified reports about frosty relations between the Lahore team management and Umar. Whether they are true or not, the fact is Umar faces an uphill task to regain the trust of team management and even the public with the beleaguered batsman one of the most trolled personalities in the world.
During a meet and greet session at the Wafi Mall in Dubai, Umar steered clear of specific questions about his woeful form and ouster from the team. However, he did reveal how he is keeping himself upbeat.
“My best friends, my brothers keep me motivated. My wife has been especially supportive. She boosts my morale, so do my parents. Listening to music, having food with close friends keeps negativity out of my mind,” Umar told Sport360 on Saturday.
“Obviously, I am staying away from social media. I have a team that handles my social media accounts. They just inform me about the positive aspects and don’t tell me anything about negative (remarks).”
Umar, however, is not losing hope and promises to rework certain aspects of his game once the PSL finishes. “I will work on my game after the PSL. Hopefully there will be improvement.”