About the Match
Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars, the teams lurching in the bottom half of the points table, go head to head in Sharjah Cricket Stadium, only to seek redemption.
Lahore Qalandars entered the Pakistan Super League as hot favorites to lift the trophy. Acquiring the likes of the mighty Chris Gayle and thunderous Dwayne Bravo, Qalandars were hoping for a much better position on the points table by this time around.
However, with Gayle and leg-spinner Yasir Shah injured, Qalandars’ chances to push their way further up the table seem gloomy. Their only win in the tournament came against Quetta Gladiators when Umar Akmal hammered a blistering 93 run innings with a strike rate of 180.
While Qalandars stockpiled an inventory of explosive batsmen, Karachi Kings, on the other hand, relied too much on their bowling investments in the form of Sohail Tanveer and Muhammad Amir. Kings did not think it through when they were drafting fast bowlers that there is not a single pitch in UAE that supports fast bowling. The two designated venues, Dubai and Sharjah, have flat pitches while Sharjah, in particular, is a paradise for batsmen.
Kings lack a hard-hitter who can bury the cricket ball into the stands on back to back deliveries. Although their first and only win came against Qalandars, they managed to drag the game against Peshawar Zalmi till the last ball in a nail-biting cruncher, losing by a mere three runs.
Ravi Bopara has proved to be the backbone for Karachi Kings, amassing 139 runs, third highest runs scored in the tournament, and four wickets in four games. Essex-man is the highest run getter and second highest wicket taker for Kings so far.
Bopara’s experience in T20 is indeed helping Karachi Kings and needs to climb the batting order to set a stage for lesser experienced batsmen down the lineup. His overall contribution to all aspects of the game can prove to be the deciding factor in the match against Qalandars.
Lahore Qalandars have the exciting Umar Akmal, who can wrap up a game in a matter of a few minutes on his day. Pakistan-born is the fourth highest runs getter in the tournament, lagging behind the top three only because of playing one match less.
Akmal is known for flat hitting sixes. On a pitch like Sharjah, where the white ball is ready to be hit down the ground, regardless of bowler’s quality, Akmal can be destructive and turn the match his way while keeping his calm. He throttled down eight mighty sixes against title favorites Quetta Gladiators in his 93 runs from 40 balls innings, with a phenomenal strike rate of 232.5.
In the two matches played on the pitch at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, runs have leaked in torrents, 166 being the minimum single innings total so far. Toss won’t be of much importance since chasing any score in Sharjah is not paradoxical.
Lahore won their only match by posting a might total of 194 runs in the first innings while Kings have proved their mettle in chasing. Both teams are down and out, and the only way to get back to winning ways is to stick to their strengths.
If Lahore can post a total above 190, which is very doable considering their batting line-up that comprises D. Bravo, U. Akmal, and C. Delport, it is very probable that they might steal away a win since Kings do not have much quality in batting to chase down hefty scores. However, a total less than 170 from Qalandars in the first innings would make the match less favorable for Qalandars, unless they bat second which is the most likely situation for them to lose.
Kings, on the contrary, have a highest first innings total of only 147 runs, but their chances of winning could spike if they settle to bowl first. Unlike Qalandars, the Kings do not have the services of a super-sixer batsman. Nonetheless, the likes of Ravi Bopara and Bangladeshi all-rounder, Shakib ul Hassan, bring enough experience to take away the match by batting second