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|Jofra Chioke Archer||4.0||0||30||2||7.50|
|Jofra Chioke Archer||5||4||1||0||125.00|
The Karachi Kings have been the laughing stock of the Pakistan Super League to some extent. They always seem to have the best squad before the tournament but end up struggling to win matches. This year, the Karachi Kings have revamped their squad in order to change things around. Can they finally convert their potential into on-field performances? They have a tough task up front as they take on the Quetta Gladiators, a team that has reached the final on both the previous occasions and the most successful franchise in the history of the PSL.
We have a good feeling about the Karachi Kings this year. They have let go some of the big names in their team that were underperforming and have come up with a decidedly younger squad. The Karachi Kings have also got Shahid Afridi in their ranks, who continues to be one of the most influential cricketers in Pakistan.
Not only has Shahid Afridi adapted well to the demands of T20 cricket after his international retirement, he has done well at the PSL specifically. Afridi scored 177 runs in 10 matches for Peshawar Zalmi last season and bowled at an economy rate of 6.75.
He is also someone whom the younger Pakistani players look up to and can help mold a team out of separate individuals.
The international players for the Karachi Kings are also very impressive. Colin Ingram had an excellent season at New Zealand’s KFC Super Smash followed by a good run at the Big Bash League in Australia. He is good against the spinners and will play a vital role in the top order. Joe Denly, similarly, did well in the Big Bash and is a good replacement for Luke Wright.
Denly will be joined by his England captain, Eoin Morgan, in the team as well. Morgan just cracked a 70 for England in a losing cause against New Zealand and his experience will be very valuable to the Karachi Kings.
The middle order for the Karachi Kings is likely going to feature Babar Azam, Shahid Afridi, Ravi Bopara, Imad Wasim, and Mohammad Rizwan. This is not the strongest middle order that will be on show in the tournament and could turn out to be the pressure point for the Kings going forward.
In contrast, their bowling attack is very potent. Mohammad Amir has yet to really set the PSL alight like he has done the international stage and this could be his big opportunity. Amir will have the support of Tymal Mills, Usman Khan, Shahid Afridi, Imad Wasim, and Ravi Bopara as needed.
If some of the Karachi batsmen can hit early form then we can see them having a very good PSL 2018.
Joe Denly, Khurram Manzoor, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, RS Bopara, SMSK Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, SI Wasim, Mohammad Amir, TS Mills, Mohammad Irfan.
The Quetta Gladiators are another one of the teams that is always popular with the fans. Led by Sarfaraz Khan, the Gladiators may not boast the same big-name superstars as the other teams but they have carved out a solid strategy for themselves in the past two seasons.
The success of the Gladiators in the last two seasons was built around the batting of Rilee Rossouw, Sarfaraz Khan, and Kevin Pietersen. All three have been retained by the franchise and even though they will miss Ahmed Shahzad, their highest run-scorer last season, they have added Shane Watson to their lineup.
The only concern among these players will be the form of Kevin Pietersen. The former England captain and gun batsman has called time on his career and this is likely to be his last PSL. He had a poor big Bash a few weeks back and one wonders if he still has the drive to be able to perform at his best for Quetta.
Thankfully for the Gladiators, Shane Watson is a player that is best suited for T20 cricket. He can bowl his four overs reliably and has the power to break open the game at any point in the game. We think he will be a very important addition to the Quetta Gladiators.
The bowling for the Quetta Gladiators is looking a little thin when it comes to the fast bowling department. Jofra Archer, the flavor of T20 leagues around the world, will be in the spotlight once again as he attempts to get the most out of the pitches in the Middle-East.
Archer will have some quality spinners to help him like Mohammad Nawaz and Rashid Khan (when present), but their bowling is definitely the weaker of the disciplines.
Perhaps another important reason for Quetta’s success has been the fact they have some high-quality Pakistani batsmen in their ranks. Asad Shafiq and Umar Amin will have an important role to play once again for the Gladiators this season.
RR Rossouw, Umar Amin, KP Pietersen, Asad Shafiq, SR Watson, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Jofra Chioke Archer, A Ali, Hassan Khan, Rahat Ali.
The weather in Dubai is forecast to be a little humid but excellent for playing cricket overall. The foreign players may struggle with the humid heat and that could affect the performances of the fast bowlers. The pitch will be flat and offer nothing to any kind of bowler. All the batsmen have to do is to get used to the bounce and then hit through the line.
Scores of around 160 should be par.
This promises to be a tightly fought contest between two evenly matched teams. The Karachi Kings will be keen to bury the ghosts of their past and start well. We are backing them to pull off an upset win over the Quetta Gladiators in this match. The Gladiators bowling is looking a little thin while one of their gun batsmen is at the tail end of his career.