About the Match
The Gladiators registered a sensational win against Qalandars by 8 runs, successfully defending 136 runs after a powerful performance by the bowlers; they will now take on Karachi Kings, which had a poor run last season and has roped in many big names this time, on 11th February at Dubai. Both teams have a good mix of experience and young talent and they will put up a tough fight no matter what the situation is. The competition is still in the initial stages but having already seen some power-packed performances, the fans will expect another thriller of a game on Saturday.
The team has its third captain in batting legend Kumar Sangakkara, who has many records to his name and can lead the side from the front. He will have the services of another stalwart Chris Gayle, who stands at the cusp of creating history in T20 cricket by becoming the first man to score 10,000 runs in this format. Gayle is only 223 runs away from the landmark achievement having 18 T20 centuries already and he could well come out all guns blazing right from the start. Both these batsmen form the core of the batting contingent and the Kings could prove to be a formidable force.
The batting line-up also has big names like Mahela Jayawardene, the in-form all-rounder Ravi Bopara, who was the highest run-scorer for the team last year and impressed with the ball, Shoaib Malik and Keiron Pollard to name a few. The bowling attack has spinners Imad Wasim, Babar Azam, Khurram Manzoor, Malik, Shahzaib Hasan and Usama Mir.
Pacemen Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali and Sohail Khan bring their wicket-taking abilities to the table while all-rounders like Ryan McLaren, Bopara and Pollard could be seen contributing well with bat and ball. Sangakkara’s experience and skills combined with Gayle’s fireworks could make this team the one to look out for here.
It was an inspiring performance by the Gladiators bowlers, especially the spinners Mohammad Nawaz, Zulfiqar Babar and Hasan Khan, who took 2 wickets each against Qalandars to stifle their chase for 137 and help win the match by 8 runs; they are in good form to repeat it here. Pacemen Anwar Ali and TS Mills provided good support and they got the opponents all-out for 128 runs.
Earlier, the batsmen had a rough ride with players like Pietersen, Shehzad and Sarfraz Ahmed getting out for single digits; middle-order batsman Rilee Russouw scored 60 off 47 while Asad Shafiq started the innings well with 29 runs but they could muster only 136 on board. The batting line-up has experienced players who could step up their ante and help the team post a solid total while batting first or chase a target successfully.
Overall, the team has received a major morale boost with the win in its opening game, and they will be eager to continue with their momentum against Kings too.
The contest could well go down to the wire with batsmen from both sides looking for opportunities to get the big shots, but we feel that Karachi Kings with its star-studded batting line-up is better placed to emerge victorious on Saturday night.