PSL 2019: Under-fire Karachi Kings need batsmen to step up against Quetta Gladiators

Waseem Ahmed 00:02 24/02/2019
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Babar Azam. [Image credit: Twitter/@thePSLt20]

Two teams at opposite ends of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) table will clash when Quetta Gladiators take on Karachi Kings at Sharjah on Sunday.

League leaders Quetta Gladiators have maintained a perfect start to their campaign and come into the match on the back of a thrilling last-ball win over Lahore Qalandars on Saturday.

With four wins out of four, Sarfraz Ahmed and his men are looking like the team to beat already in the competition. The performance of the team’s bowling unit has played a large part in Quetta’s remarkable start with the likes of Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir and Fawad Ahmed putting in some tidy work.

However, it’s been youngster Ghulam Mudassar who has caught the eye among the veteran names with the pacer’s three-wicket haul on Saturday playing a pivotal role in Quetta’s win.

While the bowling has been on song, Quetta’s batting has looked solid as well. The batting card bears a formidable look with the presence of Shane Watson, Rilee Rossouw and Umar Akmal while Sarfraz has chipped in with his fair share.

The Quetta Gladiators skipper was in fine form in the victory over Lahore with a brilliant half-century and a last-ball six off David Wiese.

While Quetta have been flying, Karachi have been on a freefall since the second day of the competition. After registering a narrow win over Multan Sultans in their opener, the Kings have tasted three defeats on the bounce with the latest of them coming in comprehensive fashion against Islamabad United on Saturday.

Problems have been plenty for Imad Wasim and his men, especially in the batting department. Their star batsman Babar Azam has been subdued of late after starting the tournament with a fine 77. The Pakistan stalwart was run-out for 27 in the loss to Islamabad and he will need to step up if Karachi are to turn their campaign around.

Kiwi dasher Colin Munro’s maiden Karachi outing ended on a golden duck against Islamabad and he is another batsman that Karachi will look to for inspiration going forward. Like Babar, Liam Livingstone too has gone off the boil since his exploits against Multan and it is no wonder that Karachi have been struggling with the bat.

One positive from Karachi’s crushing defeat on Saturday was the form of Ben Dunk with the Australia wicket-keeper battling hard for his side with an unbeaten 49.

The Kings have a decent bowling unit with the likes of Mohammad Amir, Imad, Usman Shinwari and Umer Khan in tow but it is with the bat that they will need to fire if they are to stop Quetta’s juggernaut.

TEAM NEWS

While there are no major injury concerns for either side, the fact that both teams are playing their second match in as many days could see a few players being rested as precaution.

LIKELY XIs

Quetta Gladiators: Shane Watson, Ahsan Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Umar Akmal, Dwayne Smith, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk and c), Mohammad Nawaz, Anwar Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Ghulam Mudassar, Fawad Ahmed

Karachi Kings: Babar Azam, Colin Munro, Awais Zia, Liam Livingstone, Colin Ingram, Ben Dunk (wk), Imad Wasim (c), Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Umer Khan, Usman Shinwari

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