About the Match
Karachi Kings pulled off an emphatic win against United in the last league match to make it to the playoffs; they will face United again in the 2nd Qualifying Final to be played at Sharjah on 1st March. While the Kings finished third on the table with 8 points, and come here at the back of two successive victories, United finished 4th with 8 points after ruling on top for most part of the league. Both sides have match-winners who can come out with all their firepower to help keep their team’s hopes alive on Wednesday.
Batting first against Kings, they could muster only 123 runs in 15 overs and this too was made possible by Dwayne Smith’s well-made 49; Brad Haddin scored 20 runs and tried to keep the scoreboard ticking with Misbah’s help but in they could only get to 123. Spinner Shadab Khan then took a splendid 3-13 in 3 overs but couldn’t stop the Kings from winning the match.
In the previous match against Gladiators, they had won the match by a whisker, defending 165 runs successfully and winning by 1 run. Speedsters Mohammad Irfan, Sami and Rumman Raees took a wicket each in regular intervals while Shadab Khan dismissed Pietersen to cause a big upset. They combined their skills well to stop Gladiators from stealing a win.
United has lost both the times it met Karachi Kings and will try to strategize better here to make a comeback; the batting line-up has experienced players like Smith, Haddin, Billings, Watson and Misbah-ul-Haq, who could build a strong foundation while batting first or during chase.
Chasing 124 runs from 15 overs, Chris Gayle finally put up a good show with the bat, scoring 44 off just 17 deliveries and setting the foundation for a win. Babar Azam continued with his good form as he scored a run-a-ball 27 while Kieron Pollard and Ravi Bopara helped them cross the finish line with ease. Fast-bowlers Usman Khan, Mohammad Amir and Sohail Khan had earlier demolished the opposition, taking 2 wickets each, and they could prove to be a tough nut to crack yet again.
Kieron Pollard’s six off the last ball helped them clinch victory against Qalandars too in the previous outing; they chased down 156 runs successfully after Babar Azam and Sangakkara laid the foundation with 49 and 20 runs respectively. Pollard then struck a fine innings of 45 off 20 to help them win the match by 5 wickets in a thrilling finish. Earlier, spinners Usama Mir and Shoaib Malik took 2 wickets each while speedsters Amir and Sohail Khan claimed a wicket each to restrict the opponents to 155. They have a good mix of spin and pace that can do well under tough situations.
Having won twice against United during the league, the players will be motivated to do well again here and keep the team in the running.
The losing team will be eliminated from the race and hence both sides will fight hard to survive here; United has been a strong team throughout and could try to make a comeback here. However, we feel that Karachi Kings, having outwitted United twice before are better placed to win this do-or-die contest on Wednesday