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The two of the most favorites candidates to win the coveted trophy in the ongoing Pakistan Super League have had extreme fortunes in the tournament thus far. Quetta Gladiators who also are one of the most consistent sides in the competition are running well at the top of the table with four wins in as many matches. The Kings, on the other hand, started off the tournament in a flying fashion with a convincing win over Multan Sultans but hasn't seen success since. The two sides are set to lock horns on Sunday, 24th February at Sharjah.
Just like the Gladiators, Karachi Kings, too are following a trend they are known to in the history of the tournament. They've managed to win just one of their four concluded games and are desperate to put two more points on the board.
They failed miserably in their recent-most encounter, against Islamabad United, wherein they were so bad that in both the departments that the United cruised to the total with more than three overs to spare. Their massive loss not only pushed them to the bottom of the table but also damaged their net run rate to a great effect.
The United had their feet on the Kings' throat right from the beginning of the game right after they dismissed Colin Munro for a duck. The dangerous looking Babar Azam had a short stint at the crease and score 27 runs, but his wicket brought about a collapse from which Kings never recovered and eventually ended up scoring just 143.
The despair for Karachi Kings continued with the ball as well with Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, and Aamer Yamin carted to all parts of the ground by Luke Ronchi. Barring Imad Wasim and Umer Khan, none of their bowlers looked threatening and only Wasim could find any success whatsoever as he picked up two wickets for 27. Karachi Kings eventually failed to defend their below-average total as Islamabad United cruised to the total with seven wickets in hand and 23 balls to spare.
Colin Munro, Babar Azam, A Zia, Colin Ingram, Liam Livingstone, Ben Dunk, SI Wasim, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, Umer Khan.
Quetta Gladiators continued to build on their fairy-tale story in the tournament with their fourth victory of a tournament, this time against Lahore Qalandars in a closely fought encounter. Going through a poor run of form, Pakistan's and Quetta's skipper Sarfraz Khan got back into the rhythm with a well-timed half-century.
Chasing a total of just 144, things weren't easy for Quetta Gladiators. They started off their chase with the loss of Shane Watson, their in-form player, for a duck. Barring Ahsan Ali, none of their top-order batsmen looked comfortable as Gladiators lost wickets in a heap making an ordinary chase look like a humungous affair. Sarfraz Ahmed, however, came to their rescue just at the right time and slammed 52 off just 29 deliveries to power Gladiators to a three-wicket win on the last delivery of the game.
The Gladiators did exceptionally well with the ball in the first half of the match. Barring Mohammad Nawaz and Fawad Ahmed, who both conceded more than thirty runs in their four overs each, all the bowlers picked up wickets and stayed economic at the same time. Ghulam Mudassar was their pick of the bowlers and returned with the figures of 21 for 3 in his four overs.
SR Watson, Ahsan Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Dwayne Smith, Mohammad Nawaz, Anwar Ali, S Tanvir, Ghulam Mudassar, Fawad Ahmed.
Both the teams had a similar sort of start to this edition and while Quetta Gladiators have only picked up the pace from there, the Kings' performance has faded with every passing match. They have a strong bowling unit on paper which hasn't really converted the ink to performance. Quetta Gladiators, on the other hand, have done brilliantly even without any star middle-order batsmen performing consistently. With better form and the momentum coupled with a balanced on-paper lineup, the Gladiators go in as firm favorites to win the upcoming encounter.
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