Karachi are second from bottom in the league table currently after tasting four defeats in their seven matches so far although they come into the clash on the back of a five-wicket win over Lahore Qalandars.
Karachi’s only other wins in the tournament so far have come against Monday’s opponents Multan Sultans and against Quetta Gladiators where a sensational ton from Colin Ingram had made the difference.
The Kings have been inconsistent in all departments, especially with the ball where Mohammad Amir is the sole bowler from the side to feature in the top-10 wicket-takers. Young Umer Khan has impressed in patches with his spin fetching seven wickets.
With the bat, Liam Livingstone and Babar Azam have been the leading run-scorers for the side but both have failed to maintain consistency while Ingram has played one blinder of an innings. New Zealand opener Colin Munro, however, has simply failed to show up for Karachi with a paltry aggregate of 22 runs from four innings.
Shoaib Malik is an expert at anchoring the middle overs - he averages 41.0 in overs 7-15 in his T20 career, at a strike rate of 117. He lifts that strike rate to 163 in the death overs. #MSvQG @realshoaibmalik #HBLPSL #KhelDeewanoKa pic.twitter.com/KdDvLp0PgF— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) March 1, 2019
For Multan, it has been a campaign to forget so far with Shoaib Malik and his men picking up just the two wins so far from their eight clashes with the latest defeat coming against Quetta Gladiators.
With just two games left in the league campaign, time is running out for the Multan franchise to book a playoff spot and they will need to win both their clashes to even stand a chance.
It is difficult to point out where exactly Multan’s struggles have come this season with skipper Malik leading the run-scoring charts in the PSL with 240 in eight innings. Englishman James Vince and West Indies’ Johnson Charles have also started to look good with the bat but Multan have fallen short when the pressure has been on.
With the ball, there have been no standout players with veteran Shahid Afridi and pacer Junaid chipping in with eights wickets apiece.
None of the batsmen apart from Charles stood tall in the most recent defeat to Quetta and Malik will need to lead from the front in the remainder of the campaign if Multan are to keep their slim hopes alive.
Having kept him under wraps for seven matches, Multan finally handed Mohammad Abbas an opportunity in the loss to Quetta and the Pakistan seamer put in a tidy spell without picking up any wickets. The Sultans will be hoping for some magic from Abbas in the remaining two games if they are to pull off a late resurgence.
The margin of error remains small for both the teams on Monday and another loss for either side could be catastrophic to their playoff hopes.
Karachi Kings: Babar Azam, Colin Munro, Liam Livingstone, Colin Ingram, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imad Wasim (c), Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Umer Khan, Aaron Summers
Multan Sultans: Umar Siddiq, James Vince, Johnson Charles, Tom Moores (wk), Shoaib Malik (c), Dan Christian, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Ilyas, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Abbas
Both teams are level on 10 points after registering five wins each in their seven matches so far although it is Peshawar who are ahead on net run-rate.
Darren Sammy’s Peshawar come into the clash on the back of a last-gasp four-wicket win over defending champions Islamabad United with England all-rounder Liam Dawson playing a starring role.
Zalmi’s main strength throughout their campaign has been their pace battery with Hasan Ali leading wicket-taking charts with 18 scalps to his name. The Pakistan pacer has been ably supported by the experienced Wahab Riaz who has chipped in with 10 wickets.
In the batting department, opener Imam-ul-Haq has shown promise with two half-centuries at the top of the order. Meanwhile, the big-hitters down the order including Dawson, Kieron Pollard and Sammy have all stood up during crucial stages of the campaign.
Quetta, on the other hand, come into the clash on the back of a morale-boosting win. Sarfraz Ahmed and his men made the perfect start to their PSL campaign with four wins on the trot but two consecutive losses had threatened to derail their charge before they got back on track with victory over Multan Sultans.
It was Dwayne Bravo that made the difference for Quetta against Multan with the West Indies all-rounder making a statement in his very first appearance for the franchise this season. Bravo was excellent with the ball and accounted for three important wickets to pave the way for a comfortable Gladiators win.
Bravo’s return has bolstered an already formidable bowling unit where pacer Sohail Tanvir and spinner Mohammad Nawaz have been key.
Batting second has been the key to Quetta’s strong campaign so far with the side securing all four wins while chasing. Their only two losses have come where they have been made to bat first.
When the two teams met in the reverse fixture at Dubai last month, it was Quetta who prevailed over Peshawar by six wickets in a tight contest.
Quetta Gladiators: Shane Watson, Ahsan Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Rilee Rossouw, Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Hasnain, Fawad Ahmed
Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Andre Fletcher, Imam-ul-Haq, Umar Amir, Liam Dawson, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (c), Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umaid Asif, Ibtisam Sheikh
Match starts 15:30 UAE time
All eight matches of the Pakistan-leg of the 2019 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will now be held in Karachi following a late change of plans.
Initially, three of the eight matches slated to be held on Pakistan soil were to take place at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore. However, owing to logistical and operations challenges brought on by the delayed re-opening of the Lahore airspace, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made the decision to hold all eight matches at the National Stadium in Karachi instead.
Earlier, Lahore was due to host PSL clashes on March 9, 10 and 12.
“This has been a difficult and tough decision, which has been taken following discussion and consultation with all the franchisees and service providers to ensure certainty and clarity on the event as well as delivery of the remaining matches as per the PCB’s own very high standards,” PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said in a statement.
“Due to the recent and prevailing uncertainty, we felt it critical to make a decisive decision at this juncture. Ensuring all matches are played in Pakistan falls in line with our vision to take all eight matches of the HBL PSL 2019 matches to the people of Pakistan.
“We have spoken with the franchisees, who have backed this decision and have reinforced that all their foreign players will feature in the last eight matches of what has been an outstanding and highly competitive tournament that has been thoroughly enjoyed by the fans and the players.”
Along with the shift in venue for the three matches, the move has seen a slight change in the schedule for the Pakistan-leg of the tournament although the final will take place in Karachi on March 17 as slated previously.
REVISED PSL 2019 SCHEDULE
March 9, Saturday
Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United – Karachi, 18:00 UAE time
March 10, Sunday
Karachi Kings v Quetta Gladiators – Karachi, 18:00 UAE time
March 11, Monday
Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans – Karachi, 13:00 UAE time
Karachi Kings v Peshawar Zalmi – Karachi, 18:00 UAE time
March 13, Wednesday
Qualifier – Karachi, 18:00 UAE time
March 14, Thursday
Eliminator 1 – Karachi, 18:00 UAE time
March 15, Friday
Eliminator 2 – Karachi, 18:00 UAE time
March 17, Sunday
Final – Karachi, 18:00 UAE time