About the Match
Lahore Qalandars are comfortably placed in the second position with 6 points, and will play their last league match against Karachi Kings, who have been all but knocked-out of the competition finishing at the bottom of the table with just 4 points, on 25th February at Dubai. While the fight for a place in the qualifiers is still very open, the Qalandars have a good NRR and are likely to go through to the playoffs. Kings on the other hand are playing their penultimate game and will strive hard to redeem themselves with a win here.
They defeated Peshawar Zalmi last weekend by a close margin of 9 runs thanks to a splendid batting effort by Babar Azam, who scored 46 off 38 to build the foundation, and Shoaib Malik, who set up a well-made half-century to take the scoreboard to 174 runs. Ravi Bopara and Sangakkara played useful knocks and they can stabilize the middle-order in the upcoming match too. Speedsters Sohail Khan and Usman Khan then took 3 wickets each to stifle the opponent’s chase while the spinners Imad Wasim, Usama Mir and all-rounder Shoaib Malik took 4 wickets between them to get Zalmi all-out for 165.
In the recent match against Gladiators, however, the bowlers failed to defend a humble target of 154 with only Sohail Khan and Usama Mir being successful with the wickets. The batsmen couldn’t build steady partnerships; although Azam, Sangakkara, Gayle and Pollard tried to keep the scoreboard ticking, they were outwitted by the clever Gladiators in regular intervals.
When they had met Qalandars earlier, they lost the match by a painful 7 runs and they will be eager to avenge that defeat here on Saturday.
Umar Akmal and Grant Elliott’s special performance with the bat helped them clinch a 1-wicket victory against United recently, and this win has helped boost their morale. While Akmal posted a superb 66 off 42, Elliott contributed with an unbeaten 26 to steer the team across the finish line while chasing 146 runs. Medium pacer Aamer Yamin had a role to play in the victory as well, taking a stupendous 3-17 earlier and along with spinners Yasir Shah, who took 2 scalps, Sunil Narine and fast-bowler Sohail Tanvir, the Qalandars contained the opposition at 145.
Batting first against Kings earlier, Jason Roy had posted 26 runs while Fakhar Zaman steadied the innings with a well-made 56 off 36. Good contributions by Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan and Elliott took the scoreboard to 179, which the bowlers defended successfully to win the match by 7 runs.
Speedsters Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan and Bilawal Bhatti could provide quick breakthroughs here while spinners Yasir Shah, Sunil Narine and others like Aamer Yamin and Elliott add depth to the attack.
Karachi Kings is desperate for a win now and they could try to come out all guns blazing here; however, we feel that Qalandars with their recent winning form are better equipped to win