|Finished.126/3 (13.5) - 121/10 (18.2)|
Only 3 months since the end of the last PSL - but a year since the start of the one before, we’re about to embark on the latest Pakistan Super League campaign. With all 6 teams ready to duke it out, and the trophy currently belonging to the Karachi Kings, it may turn out to be a very short period of being incumbent champions for the Kings as they are now back on level grounds with the others with a 1 in 6 chance of retaining the title. Now, we say 1 in 6, but no team has yet managed to pull this off - although granted, the PSL is a relatively new domestic T20 competition. Whatever the end result may be, the Kings’ campaign begins with a clash with 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators. The Gladiators failed to qualify for the playoffs last year, and will be intent on starting this year’s campaign off with a bang. With literally everything to play for, and both squads fresh and energetic, this promises to be an excellent match. Before the players head out onto the field, let’s take a look at the two teams.
Imad Wasim (c), Amir Yamin, Arshad Iqbal, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Mohammad Amir, Sharjeel Khan, Waqas Maqsood, Mohammad Nabi, Dan Christian, Chadwick Walton (wk), Joe Clarke, Noor Ahmad, Danish Aziz, Mohammad Ilyas, Zeeshan Malik, Qasim Akram.
Imad Wasim (c), Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Dan Christian, Chadwick Walton (wk), Mohammad Nabi, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Waqas Maqsood, Arshad Iqbal.
Preview and form
Although they won last year’s PSL title - their first - the Kings did lose both their league games against the Gladiators. This time they’ll be more wary - especially since the Gladiators have a strong squad. On top of their retained players, the Kings have attained the services of a few notable names such as batsmen Colin Ingram and Joe Clarke, all-rounders Dan Christian and Mohammad Nabi, and spinner Noor Ahmad. Among those they retained, names like Imad Wasim, Aamer Yamin, Chadwick Walton, Sharjeel Khan, and Mohammad Amir stand out. This leaves KK a little light in the spin department as they only have one inexperienced full-time spinner, but they have several part-time spinners who can be useful in a pinch.
Babar Azam: After finally playing a decent knock in the last match of Pakistan’s T20 series against South Africa, Azam will be keen on regaining last year’s form which in no small part led to KK’s win.
Dan Christian: The Sydney Sixers’ star can be explosive when in form, and shifting from one champion team to another shouldn’t change that.
Mohammad Amir: Apart from Wahab Riaz, Amir is the last remaining vestige of his country’s golden generation of fast bowlers.
Arshad Iqbal: The incisive young fast-medium bowler takes wickets every time he’s given the ball, give or take.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c/wk), Anwar Ali, Azam Khan (wk), Ben Cutting, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Zahid Mahmood, Chris Gayle, Dale Steyn, Tom Banton (wk), Usman Khan Shinwari, Cameron Delport, Qais Ahmad, Abdul Nasir, Saim Ayub, Arish Ali Khan, Usman Khan, Faf du Plessis (stand-in for Chris Gayle), Hassan Khan (stand-in for Dale Steyn).
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Chris Gayle, Tom Banton (wk), Azam Khan, Cameron Delport, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Zahid Mahmood, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Arish Ali.
Preview and form
Trying to defend their 2019 title, the Gladiators failed to win more than 4 matches, and were edged out of the playoff spots by the Peshawar Zalmi by a narrow difference in net run rate.
The Gladiators have invested heavily in batsmen, getting rid of almost all their previous batsmen and many of their bowlers and all-rounders to replace them with what they no doubt think are better options. The names that stand out from their list of new names are Chris Gayle, his partial replacement Faf du Plessis, Tom Banton, and Cameron Delport (batsmen), Qais Ahmed (all-rounders), Dale Steyn, and Usman Shinwari (bowlers). Among the few retained players, captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will be rejoined by Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Azam Khan, Naseem Shah, and Mohammad Hasnain.
Sarfaraz Ahmed: As the captain, Sarfaraz will have to lead his team with renewed vigor and zeal.
Tom Banton: The young English gun will need to fire off as often as possible, and preferably with large caliber innings.
Mohammad Hasnain: The talented local speedster has plenty of skills under his sleeve.
Usman Shinwari: A smart cricketer, this Afghan can often turn the tide with his seemingly innocuous but low-key dangerous pace bowling.
Karachi Kings vs Quetta Gladiators weather conditions and pitch report
Although it will be a hot day, the temperature will taper off as evening approaches. Every other factor should be great for cricket, save for perhaps the scarily low humidity.
Although a fantastic pitch for fast bowlers, Karachi’s National Stadium can also be great for batsmen as the ball comes on to the bat nice and quick. If the fast bowlers can’t cook up some dangerous plans for the batsmen, they can expect to be punished - just like spinners, who won’t get much help from the surface. First innings scores of even 170 are only safe if the defending side has many capable bowlers.
Can the Kings get off to a good start for their title defense? Or will the Gladiators make a statement by taking down the reigning champions? Find out if our Karachi Kings versus Quetta Gladiators predictions come true on Saturday!
|KK Top Batsman:|
|QG Top Batsman:|
|KK Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|QG Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|B Azam/D Christian (KK), T Banton/S Ahmed (QG)|