About the Match
Karachi Kings kept their campaign alive by defeating Qalandars in Saturday’s match by 5 wickets in a nail-biting finish; they are placed 4th on the table with 6 points and will now take on Islamabad United in the last league match of the series on 26th February at Dubai. United, who are placed second currently with 8 points have already reserved their playoff berth after handing out a shocking defeat to table-toppers Quetta Gladiators in the last outing; they will be eager to continue with their winning momentum.
The bowlers kept their nerves together and defended 165 runs successfully against Gladiators in the last match; it was an uphill task but speedsters Rumman Raees, Sami and Irfan along with spinner Shadab Khan took a wicket each in regular intervals to stifle their chase and snatch the victory from their opponent’s hands. Earlier, Hussain Talat top-scored with 56 off 39, and along with his captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Haddin and Watson helped the team reach 165. They have a strong batting line-up and could draw inspiration from their recent victory to come out all guns blazing this time.
In the previous match against Qalandars, the batsmen had faltered and could muster only 145 batting first; bowler Shadab Khan was the top-scorer with a well-made 42 and he also took 2 wickets later but his efforts went in vain as they lost the match by 1 wicket. Rumman Raees has been consistently taking wickets and he finished with 3-26 against Qalandars; fast-bowlers Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Sami took a wicket each while Watson dismissed one opponent but they couldn’t stop them from hitting the winning runs.
When they met Kings earlier, United had suffered a humiliating defeat after being demolished for 90 in 13 overs and this time they will be well prepared to avenge the loss.
Chasing a reduced target of 68 from 9.4 overs against United in the earlier contest, Babar Azam had single-handedly taken the team across the finish line with a superb 47 off 30 when others fell like a pack of cards. Spinners Imad Wasim and Usama Mir took 2 wickets each in an economical manner to restrict United to 90 in 13 overs. This will give them confidence to try and dominate United yet again.
In a do-or-die contest against Qalandars, the batsmen held their nerves together to chase down 156 runs in the nick of time thanks to a last-ball six by Kieron Pollard, which took his total to an unbeaten 45 off 20 deliveries. Babar Azam continues to be the pillar of the batting line-up and he posted a superb 49 off 42 in the same match to build the foundation. Experienced players like Sangakkara, Gayle and Jayawardene are yet to show their superior talents, but they can stabilize the innings under crunch situations.
The bowling department has speedsters Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan and Sohail Khan while spinners Imad Wasim, Usama Mir and Shoaib Malik add depth to the attack with their wicket-taking abilities.
United has received a major morale boost with its emphatic win against Gladiators recently and will come out with all the firepower to avenge their previous defeat against Kings. Although the United have a power-packed batting unit, we feel that the in-form Karachi players will put their team in the driver’s seat and help win the match here