PSL 2019: Babar Azam and Shadab Khan in-focus as Karachi get ready for Islamabad test

Waseem Ahmed 00:19 27/02/2019
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Pressure on Babar Azam. Image - KarachiKings/Twitter.

The franchises of Pakistan’s two biggest cities will lock horns when Karachi Kings take on Islamabad United in a 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL) clash at Dubai on Wednesday.

Both teams are separated by just two points in the table although it is Karachi who are worse off and are currently languishing at the bottom

However, that will be of little importance to the Kings who will be buoyed by their victory over Lahore Qalandars with Colin Ingram’s sensational ton making the difference.

Islamabad, on the other hand, come into the clash on the back of a crushing six-wicket loss to Multan Sultans which broke their winning run of two games.

Wednesday’s clash will bring several of Pakistan’s limited-overs stalwarts together on the field with the likes of Babar Azam, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Hussain Talat, Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan set to feature for either side.

Of them, it will be Babar who will be feeling the most pressure with the Karachi opener going through a rare lean patch. Since his sparkling 77 in Karachi’s campaign opener, the star batsman has failed to deliver and was dismissed for a golden duck in the last clash against Quetta Gladiators.

Karachi have one of the most formidable batting units on paper in the PSL but they have failed to truly stamp their authority with Babar’s lack of runs. They will up against an Islamabad side which bats very deep due to their vast array of all-rounders.

Chief among them is Shadab Khan with the Pakistan leg-spinner growing in confidence as the tournament progresses. He started his campaign slowly in the 2018 edition before coming to the fore at the business end to help Islamabad march towards their second PSL title.

Can Shadab rise to the occasion once again or will Babar finally show his worth?

LIKELY XIs

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

Islamabad United: Luke Ronchi (wk), Cameron Delport, Sahibzada Farhan, Hussain Talat, Wayne Parnell, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan (c), Rumman Raees, Muhammad Musa

Match starts at 20:00 UAE time

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