Karachi Kings will barely have any time to recover from their opener against Multan Sultans on Friday as they get ready to take on Lahore Qalandars in the second match of Saturday’s double-header at Dubai in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The clash against Lahore will be the second for Karachi in as many days following their narrow seven-run win at the same venue.
The Kings had placed their hopes on the batting firepower provided by the in-form Babar Azam for the fourth edition of the PSL and the Pakistan stalwart did not disappoint with a fine 59-ball 77 against Multan.
Babar put on 157 runs for the opening wicket along with Englishman Liam Livingstone in what is now the highest stand for any wicket in PSL history.
In Livingstone, the Kings have got their hands on a potential gem with the Lancashire man showing his batting prowess with a whirlwind knock of 82 off just 43 deliveries with the help of six sixes and as many boundaries.
While Karachi will be buoyed by their perfect start, Lahore are still reeling from their five-wicket loss to Islamabad United in the PSL opener.
Despite openers Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar putting on 97 runs for the first wicket, the Qalandars lost the plot in the death overs to ultimately finish at 171-8.
The Qalandars were wasteful with the ball as well after having Islamabad United on the ropes but their bowlers were unable to handle the pressure in the death with Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf guiding the defending champions home with four balls to spare.
One pleasing aspect from their loss to Islamabad will be Fakhar rediscovering his form with an explosive fifty after a poor tour of South Africa with Pakistan.
Lahore’s star purchase AB de Villiers showed glimpses of his outrageous talent on his PSL debut with a 17-ball 24 but much more will be expected from the South African going forward in the tournament.
With Karachi Kings getting less than 24 hours to recover for the clash, a few changes could be possible in the playing XI. Babar Azam went down with cramps multiple times in his innings against Multan and the Karachi opener could be a doubt for the clash.
For Lahore, Nepal leg-spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane will once again be unavailable for the tie due to his Big Bash League commitments where he is due to turn out for the Melbourne Stars in the final on Sunday.
Karachi Kings: Liam Livingstone, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Sikander Raza, Ravi Bopara, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim (c), Sohail Khan, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Umer Khan
Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Akhtar, AB de Villiers, Anton Devcich, Mohammad Hafeez (c), Brendon Taylor (wk), Carlos Brathwaite, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali
Match starts at 20:00 UAE time
The Kinrara Oval – Malaysia’s top cricket venue – was saved from closure on Friday after the government blocked an attempt to oust the game’s local governing body from the facility.
The Kinrara Oval – which was built in 2003 and has hosted ODIs as well as the Under-19 World Cup – sits on a plot of prime land west of Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian Cricket Association’s lease expired in October and the property developers who own the land ordered the association to vacate the premise.
AFP reported that after months of uncertainty, the venue’s future was secured after the country’s cabinet decided it should continue operating as a cricket stadium following talks with all parties involved, sports minister Syed Saddiq said.
“The Malaysian government is committed to saving the cricket ground,” Saddiq said on Twitter.
“Cabinet decided that saving the cricket ground is more important than commercial development.”
The International Cricket Council last year attempted to save the venue, saying the game in Malaysia was “flourishing”.
The Kinrara Oval has seen some iconic performances. It’s the venue where India batting icon Sachin Tendulkar scored a fine 141 against the West Indies in an ODI in September 2006.
It is also the venue where a young Virat Kohli led India to the Under19 World Cup title in 2008.
Qalandars, who have finished bottom in the three past editions, had been bolstered by the capture of South Africa ace AB de Villiers. They were up against an Islamabad side led by Mohammad Sami and containing Pakistan star all-rounder Shadab Khan.
Follow the ball-by-ball action from Dubai below to find out.