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|U Siddiq Khan||5||4||1||0||125.00|
The action shifts to Abu Dhabi in the ongoing Pakistan Super League as we move into the final leg of the tournament before moving to Pakistan. Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators will play the first match at Abu Dhabi whereas Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans will take on each other in the evening encounter at the same venue. The Sultans and the Kings are two bottom-placed teams in the points table and while Karachi Kings are pretty much well in contention to qualify for the next round, Multan Sultans will need some magical performances here onwards so as to advance to the next round. Just like the top of the table encounters, the encounters at the bottom can also get very exciting and we expect nothing different this time as well.
The Kings started off the tournament in an emphatic fashion, but their performance and stature dwindled with every passing match thereafter. With a couple of good wins in their last two matches - against Lahore Qalandars and Quetta Gladiators, they've clawed their way back into the contention and will be looking to continue to progress.
Much to everyone's surprise, Karachi Kings became the first team to hand Quetta Gladiators a defeat in this season which demonstrated two things. One - the Kings weren't losing their matches because they lacked skill, they were losing it because they lacked application. Second, which would have instilled a lot of self-belief among the team members, is that they aren't really over-depended on Babar Azam as it was perceived earlier.
Despite Babar Azam's massive failures in the last three matches, the way Karachi Kings' middle-order has performed has been commendable, to say the least. The addition of Colin Ingram and Liam Livingstone has provided them with much-needed stability along with the firing power late in the order.
Bowling-wise, the Kings have done reasonably well considering the fact that they never were a bowling heavy outfit, to begin with. Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir have shouldered the majority of the load so far with plenty of useful contributions coming in from the likes of Iftikhar Ahmed and Aamer Yamin.
Babar Azam, Colin Munro, Liam Livingstone, Colin Ingram, Aamer Yamin, Iftikhar Ahmed, SI Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan, Aaron Summers, Umer Khan, Usman Khan.
Comprising of many veterans of the game, Multan Sultans haven't really been able to do the justice to the lineup they have on paper. They've emerged victorious on only twice occasions in the tournament so far one of which was not long ago where they chased down a meager total against Islamabad United.
The Sultans are coming into the match with a heart-breaking loss to Quetta Gladiators in their previous encounter. Batting first against the Gladiators, the Sultans never really looked in business and were dismantled completely for 121. However, in the past few matches, it's not their batting that has faltered. The likes of Umar Siddiq, James Vince, Johnson Charles, and Shoaib Malik have done well with the bat, but bowling has often somehow managed to crack under pressure. Notably, Shoaib Malik is currently at the top of the batting charts with a total of 240 runs at an average of 48 in the tournament so far.
Pakistan's red-ball specialist fast bowlers, Mohammad Abbas, has been colorless and Shahid Afridi has lacked consistency. On paper, their bowling looks pretty sharp and has done particularly well in the first fifteen overs. However, the problem of conceding runs at the death is real and apparent. Unless they somehow take care of runs leaking during the death overs, it isn't going to be easy for them to win matches regardless of how much their batsmen score.
J Vince, U Siddiq Khan, J Charles, Shoaib Malik, Hammad Azam, DT Christian, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Abbas, Christopher Green, Mohammad Irfan Khan, Mohammad Irfan.
The importance of a win in this match for either of the two teams could not be overstated. For Karachi Kings, it will push them above Lahore Qalandars into the top-four. A win for Multan Sultans will still realistically keep them in the hunt for the playoffs whereas a loss will leave their chances of qualification more mathematical than practical. Multan Sultans haven't really played as badly as their position at the ladder suggests. Often they've ended up losing in the final over of the match wherein result could have gone in any direction. Having said that, considering the recent form, on-paper team, and other above-mentioned reasons, Karachi Kings clearly have an upper hand and are better-placed to win the upcoming fixture.
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