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PSL 2018 is really hotting up now as teams try and jostle for places in the semi-finals. The two teams competing in the contest started their tournament firing on all cylinders but have since lost some steam. Can the Multan Sultans and the Karachi Kings recover in time they don’t slip further in the standings? With plenty to play for both teams, this match promises to be a very exciting one.
Three losses and a washout have left the Multan Sultans in a somewhat tricky situation. They are not in any immediate danger of failing to qualify but another loss or two is something they will want to avoid. The Multan Sultans become the first team to lose to the Lahore Qalandars in this edition of the PSL.
Some of the negatives that were apparent in their earlier matches finally added up to bite them. Ahmed Shehzad at the top of the order continues to defy any cricketing logic. He once again chewed through deliveries while managing a strike rate of less than hundred. His inability either hit the boundaries with regularity or take singles with ease makes him the perfect anti-T20 batsman.
Kumar Sangakkara, the leading run-scorer of the tournament, once again scored 45 at a strike rate of 150 but had no support from any other batsman. The Multan Sultans eventually collapsed from 92 for 2 to 114 all out.
It can be difficult for batsmen to come in and start hitting runs immediately especially when up against a bowler in excellent rhythm. Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, and Kieron Pollard failed to make any impression in the last match and that is something they need to change going forward.
The addition of Ross Whiteley to the team is a good in one as he can add more power to the lower order.
The Sultans continue to remain very good with the ball. Imran Tahir, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, and Sohail Tanvir will make the opposition earn every run that they score. In fact, we continue to rate this is as the best bowling attack in the tournament.
The Multan Sultans can emerge an even stronger team from this slight dip in form if they are able to recognize the weaknesses in their batting lineup and correct them.
Kumar Sangakkara, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard, S Badar, S Tanvir, Imran Tahir, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Hardus Viljoen.
The Karachi Kings were at the receiving end of a brutal Shane Watson assault and there is nothing much to be done in such a situation. Even Kevin Pietersen rolled back the years and played an excellent innings to completely outplay the Karachi Kings.
Now, The Karachi Kings have lost their last two matches after winning their first three in a row. Like the Multan Sultans, the Karachi Kings are not in any immediate danger of missing out but they would definitely like to move up from their current fourth position in the league standings.
The three leading bowlers for the Karachi Kings have continued to do well throughout the tournament. Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Amir, and Usman Khan were all good even in the loss that Karachi suffered against Quetta.
The problem has been the lack of control that Imad Wasim and Mohammad Irfan Jr have been able to provide. Even the addition of David Wiese to the team was not enough to provide Karachi the backup they need in the bowling department.
Against the Multan Sultans, Karachi will have a better chance of controlling the flow of the inning. Their bowlers need to target Kumar Sangakkara and then clamp down on the remaining batsmen to have an excellent shot at winning.
Of course, Karachi’s batsmen will also have to bring their A game against an excellent bowling side. The experiment to promote Shahid Afridi to the top of the order did not work but showed a flexibility in the team’s thinking.
Joe Denly, Colin Ingram, Babar Azam, Ravi Bopara, and the all-rounders make for an excellent batting unit. Karachi needs Denly and Ingram to fire with Babar Azam playing the sheet anchor’s role. The Karachi Kings seem like a team that thrives when they bat first without any scoreboard pressure.
Joe Denly, LMP Simmons, SMSK Afridi, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, RS Bopara, Mohammad Rizwan, SI Wasim, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Amir, UK Khan.
The pitch in Dubai has started to slow down a little now but batsmen can still score plenty of runs thanks to the small boundaries. It is important to take the maximum advantage of the field restrictions. The weather is going to be sunny and no rain has been predicted.
This is going to be the first match that the Multan Sultans play against the Karachi Kings. We think the Multan Sultans have the edge in bowling but the Karachi Kings just have the better batting lineup. It is going to be a close match that Karachi should win.
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