It’s the last game of the league stage and it’s Karachi Kings facing the Quetta Gladiators. The former have qualified for semi-finals while Quetta Gladiators are still in with a chance. They need to win this game and hope that Lahore Qalandars lose their game against Multan Sultans. That way will give them a direct entry at the fourth spot in the semi-finals. Else, they will have to beat Karachi Kings by a huge margin in order to get their net run rate which is -1.052 over Peshawar Zalmi’s -0.055.
At the moment, Karachi Kings are building some nice momentum into the knockouts. They’ve won their last two games and that was on the back of collective bowling performances. Their top-order batting has done well too. Hence, they are looking decent shape ahead of the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Peshawar Zalmi’s last game was washed out without a ball being bowled. However, they’ve lost four games in a row before that. And each of them were by comprehensive margins. But the last time they faced Karachi Kings, they won by five wickets as they chased down 157 with an over to spare. It’s the batting that largely hasn’t stood up and delivered and they will want them to step up in this big game.
Pitch and Conditions
It may be mostly cloudy in Karachi but there is no chance of rain. The pitch here in the last few games has been slightly on the slower side and 150-160 has been the par. Karachi Kings have had two successful sub-160 chases. Thus, both teams will want to field first if they win the toss.
Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam have been the real deal for Karachi Kings at the top of the order. They are the ones holding this batting line-up together and have fired in unison in the last couple of games. Azam is the leading run-getter of Karachi this season and has got 313 runs. Sharjeel is striking at 146.32 and has been the aggressor at the top. The middle-order does look slightly thin in the absence of Alex Hales who was doing a wonderful job at No. 3.
Skipper Imad Wasim is crucial to the balance of this side. The bowling looks decent with Mohammad Amir and Chris Jordan leading the charge. Amir has been slightly inconsistent in the last few games but Jordan has been excellent, especially at the death.
Probable XI: Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Cameron Delport, Iftikhar Ahmed, Chadwick Walton (wk), Imad Wasim (c), Umaid Asif, Chris Jordan, Usama Mir, Arshad Iqbal, Mohammad Amir
Jason Roy’s absence is a big blow for the Quetta Gladiators as he was their leading run-getter. Shane Watson has blown hot and cold but is striking at 147.15 in this tournament. Ahmed Shehzad has had a poor season and has managed to score just 61 runs at an average of 10.16. Sarfaraz Ahmed has been decent but consistency has been the issue.
Ben Cutting and Mohammad Nawaz are lending the balance and is contributing with both bat and ball. Cutting has been the difference on a couple of occasions. Meanwhile, Mohammad Hasnain is one of the lone shining lights for Quetta Gladiators this season. The pacer has picked up 14 wickets from eight games.
Probable XI: Ahsan Ali/Khurram Manzoor, Shane Watson, Ahmed Shehzad, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Azam Khan, Sohail Khan, Zahid Mahmood, Fawad Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain
Probable Top Performers
Babar Azam – Karachi Kings | Shane Watson – Quetta Gladiators
Live Streaming – Cricket GateWay
Match Timings – 19:30 IST, 19:00 local