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Karachi Kings suffered defeat against Islamabad United recently and they are in the 2nd position on the table with 7 points; they will go up against Quetta Gladiators, who are placed 5th with 4 points, at Dubai on 8th March. The Kings lost the match against United by 8 wickets after failing to defend 153 runs, but they have a psychological advantage here of being the victors in the match against Gladiators in the beginning of the series. The Gladiators lost their match against Multan Sultans in their last outing; they will be eager to bounce back with a win and avenge their previous defeat against the Kings.
Opener Khurram Manzoor and Babar Azam down at No. 3 posted well-made half-centuries while batting first against Islamabad United; however, others like Joe Denly, Ingram and Bopara were ousted quickly for single digits that led to a small total on board. The bowlers had a tough task at hand to defend 153 runs and they came under pressure; although Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Amir tried to contain the opponents, the United batsmen galloped away to the finish line with ease.
Against Qalandars, they won the match by 27 runs after the bowlers put up a stupendous show and successfully defended 159 runs. Spinner Afridi toppled the Qalandars batting line-up by taking 3-19 while speedsters Usman Khan and TS Mills took 5 wickets between them. Spinner Imad Wasim and Mohammad Irfan also claimed a wicket each. With the bat, Ravi Bopara top-scored by posting 50 off 34 while Denly and Ingram played useful knocks to score 20+ runs each.
Karachi Kings are a strong side with a well-balanced mix of batsmen and bowlers, who can help them dominate the Gladiators yet again on Thursday.
Joe Denly, Mohammad Rizwan, Colin Ingram, Babar Azam, RS Bopara, SMSK Afridi, SI Wasim, D Wiese, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan, UK Khan.
Batting first against the Sultans, players like Umar Amin, Rameez Raja and Rilee Rossouw fell cheaply for single digits and they could muster only 102 runs before getting all-out. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed top-scored with 30 runs while Shane Watson and Mahmudullah pitched in with 19 and 15 runs respectively; however, with no solid partnerships, they succumbed against the Sultans pace attack. Despite having strong pacers like Rahat Ali, John Hastings, Hasan Khan and other bowlers, they couldn’t defend the lowly total and lost the match by 9 wickets.
Previously against Peshawar Zalmi also, the batting line-up could post only 141 runs despite a good performance by Watson and Rossouw, who scored 47 and 37 runs respectively. Watson, Hastings, Rahat Ali and spinner Mohammad Nawaz took a wicket each in the second innings, but they couldn’t stop the opponents from winning the match.
It’s been a while since the Gladiators conquered their opponents and they will be eager to make a comeback before its too late. They have experienced batsmen and bowlers who could try to put up a better show in the upcoming match and trounce the Kings.
Asad Shafiq, SR Watson, KP Pietersen, RR Rossouw, Ramiz Raja, Sarfraz Ahmed, A Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Hassan Khan, Ben Laughlin, Rahat Ali.
When they met earlier, the Kings has emerged victorious by 19 runs and they have the resources to repeat the winning show. Although the Gladiators too have talented players, we feel that Karachi Kings with the in-form squad are better placed to win here.