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Here we are then - the much-awaited 6th season of Pakistan Super League is set to commence on 17th 20th February 2021 with Karachi Kings taking on Quetta Gladiators in the opening match of the tournament. Pakistan have played a lot of cricket a home, of late, but none of those matches had spectators watching the game live in the stadium.
Pakistan Super League has allowed spectators in the stadium to be filled up to 20% capacity and that will be a treat for fans and the players alike. Players will be motivated to do well with fans back in the stadium and fans will enjoy the live-action after a long time. Both these sides are packed with some talented players and a spectacle of an encounter should be on offer on Saturday.
Karachi Kings are the defending champions of the tournament and would want to carry on from where they left the last time around. Led by Imad Wasim and coached by Herschelle Gibbs, the Kings were fluent last year and much of their fluency came on the back of Babar Azam, who smashed 473 runs for them in the last season. For Karachi Kings to do well, a lot will depend on Babar Azam once again.
Other than Babar Azam, the Kings have an explosive batting lineup that is capable of destroying bowling attacks. They have Colin Ingram and Joe Clarke available in the middle-order, who both are known to hit heavy hits. Besides, Ingram has a decent record in Pakistan Super League and he will be looking for yet another rewarding season of T20 cricket. However, they no longer have the services of Cameron Delport, Alex Hales, and Chadwick Walton, who together scored 626 runs last year, and it would be interesting to see who the Kings decide to replace them with.
With the likes of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Nabi, the Kings have a decent bowling attack, but they seem to be lacking experience in that department. Most of their other bowlers are pretty young and may crumble in high-pressure situations. All eyes will be on Danish Aziz as well given the way he has delivered in the matches he has played recently. He is an all-rounder known more for his batting but can be a useful operator with the ball in the middle-overs.
All in all, the Karachi Kings seem to have all bases covered. A lot will depend on their batting unit, which is one of the best in the competition. Having said that, if their young bowlers can step up and join the party, the Kings will be the team to beat in this season as well.
Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Colin Ingram, Joe Clarke, Mohammad Nabi, DT Christian, SI Wasim, Aamer Yamin, Waqas Maqsood, Mohammad Amir, Arshad Iqbal.
Led by the former skipper of Pakistan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, the Gladiators will be looking to improve on various accounts and eventually leave a mark in this season. They have roped in Chris Gayle to bolster their batting lineup, which looked a little conservative in the last season. Chris Gayle needs no introduction and could be a game-changing signing for the Gladiators. Having said that, he did not have a CPL to remember last year, but he had a terrific IPL. He is still pretty capable of producing at least a few match-winning performances and the Gladiators' fans will be hoping that Gayle gets going right from the first match.
Gladiators' biggest disappointment last year was arguably their bowling with only one bowler carrying the pack. In this season, they'll have the services of Dale Steyn and Cameron Delport to assist Mohammad Hasnain, who was their best bowler last year. In addition to those, they also have Mohammad Nawaz and given the form he was in the recently concluded series, Nawaz is going to play a massive role.
Despite the fact that the Gladiators have managed to plug in the majority of the gaps, they still have a lot of points to ponder upon. With Jason Roy not available, the onus will be on Tom Banton and Chris Gayle to provide their team with a good start. While Banton is a proven T20I player, his record in PSL is not that great. He scored 74 runs for Zalmis last year before getting dropped. This could be a make-or-break season for Tom Banton.
On paper, the Gladiators have a side that looks to be bowling-heavy. Given the batting they have, we may see them defending a lot of subpar scores in the tournament or we may see them posting towering totals. It will all depend upon how their top-order bats. All in all, we expect them to become more relevant as the tournament proceeds given the bowling lineup they have. They'd need their experienced guys to fire and if that happens, the Gladiators will be in business big time.
Chris Gayle, Tom Banton, Azam Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Saim Ayub, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Qais Ahmad, Naseem Shah, Usman Khan Shinwari.
This is the first match of the tournament and no team would want to take the risk of batting first on this surface. The pitch is unlikely to change over the course of the match and that will tempt captains to choose to field. To add to that, the dew will likely make things difficult for the bowlers in the second innings and, therefore, fielding first should be a pretty straightforward decision to take for the captain winning the toss.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The match between Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators will be played at the National Stadium, Karachi, the same venue where the second test between Pakistan and South Africa was played. Generally, the surface tends to favor the batsmen in limited overs cricket and spinners are unlikely to have a major role to play here. Besides, this is a night match and dew will make things a little difficult for the spinners. Batsmen, on the other hand, are likely to enjoy their time batting on the surface. The weather is expected to be nice and cool on Saturday night with zero chances of rain and temperature hovering around 25 degrees. Considering all that, the team batting first would want to put a total of at least 170 runs here.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team lineup for the 1st Pakistan Super League 2021 match, which is to be played between Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators. Don't forget to check back the latest updated team lineup right after the toss.
Find more Dream11 predictions and other tips and tricks on our dedicated Dream11 guide.
Both these sides have undergone significant changes as compared to the composition they had last year. While the Gladiators have bolstered their batting unit with hard-hitting batsmen in Chris Gayle and Tom Banton, they do not have much firepower in their middle-order. On the contrary, the Kings have a better-balanced unit with the likes of Mohammad Nabi, Colin Ingram, and Joe Clarke available. Comparing the composition of the two sides and the recent form of the players, we are backing Karachi Kings to emerge victorious in the opening match of the Pakistan Super League 2021.
Comparing the batting lineups of the two teams, it is pretty clear that the Kings have a more balanced batting unit. While the Gladiators seem to be over-reliant on Chris Gayle and Tom Banton, the Kings have class oozing right through their lineup. The likes of Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Joe Clarke have done reasonably well in all the recent matches that they have played and will be looking to build on their form. For that reason, the best batsman of the day is likely to come from the Kings' camp.
Mohammad Hasnain was the Gladiators' stand-out bowler in the last season as he picked up 15 wickets. He is a wicket-taking bowler and is known to bowl well in the slog overs. Even though the Gladiators have a decent set of bowlers, we believe that Hasnain stands the best chance to finish as the top bowler for them.
While Babar Azam failed in the first two matches against the Proteas, he bounced back with a splendid knock in the conclusive match. Babar Azam has been the most consistent batsman in Pakistan Cricket in recent times and will be a tough man to dismiss. Given the nature of the format, he would need to stay for only a short while to hit his first six and that is all you need to win this bet. This is definitely one of the better punts available in the betting markets.
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