PSL 2019: Shahid Afridi in the spotlight ahead of Karachi Kings v Multan Sultans

Waseem Ahmed 18:28 14/02/2019
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Afridi (r) will line up against Imad Wasim's (l) Karachi Kings.

Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik will go head-to-head in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans get ready to open their campaigns in the fourth edition.

The Dubai International Stadium will be the setting for the first of Friday’s double-header in the PSL as the two teams look to start on the perfect note in the T20 competition.

The clash promises to be an intriguing battle with the experienced heads of Multan’s Malik and Shahid Afridi pitted against two of Pakistan’s limited-overs stalwarts in Imad Wasim and Babar for Karachi.

Both teams are yet to get their hands on the PSL trophy although Karachi Kings have been one of the more consistent franchise’s in the tournament’s history. Having made the playoffs in all three previous editions, they are hoping to improve on their best-ever third-place finish under the captaincy of Pakistan all-rounder Imam.

In Babar, they have a batsman who has been in smashing form in international cricket, especially T20Is where he is averaging over 53 with the bat. There is plenty of batting firepower in the Kings’ armoury apart from Babar with New Zealand dasher Colin Munro coming into the tournament on the back of a fine innings against India.

With the likes of Colin Ingram too and Ravi Bopara in their line-up, Karachi have an excellent batting unit in the making and that will be their major strength going into the tournament.

Multan, on the other hand, are back in the PSL under the same name but new ownership after making their debut in the league last season. The experience provided by Afridi and Malik will be key for the franchise on their return but it could be the explosiveness of Windies all-rounder Andre Russell that emerges as their trump card in the tournament.

Afridi will line up against his former employers after he was released by Karachi at the end of last season. Will the veteran all-rounder spoil Karachi’s party on his Multan debut?

TEAM NEWS

Karachi Kings will have to do without the services of Munro, Ben Dunk and Aaron Summer’s for Friday clash which should throw up plenty of headaches with regards to the team combination for Imad Wasim.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Karachi Kings: Liam Livingstone, Babar Azam, Ravi Bopara, Sikander Raza, Colin Ingram, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim (capt), Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Usama Mir, Ali Imran.

Multan Sultans: Shan Masood, Johnson Charles, Umar Siddiq, Joe Denly, Andre Russell, Shoaib Malik (capt), Shahid Afridi, Dan Christian, Mohammad Abbas, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan.

Match starts at 15:30 UAE Time.

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