About the Match
The Kings knocked out Islamabad United from the race by defeating them in the 2nd qualifier by 44 runs; they are now one step closer to the prize and must fight it out with Peshawar Zalmi for a berth in the finals on 3rd March in the 3rd Qualifying Final at Dubai. Zalmi lost the battle against Gladiators by a heart-wrenching 1 run and the upcoming match is a do-or-die ×contest for both these teams. It needs to be seen which of them can keep a cool head above their shoulders and emerge victorious on Friday.
Chasing 201 against Gladiators in the qualifiers, Dawid Malan, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi put up outstanding efforts and kept the scoreboard ticking. While Malan scored 56 off 30, Hafeez returned to form with an exceptional 77 off 47; Afridi who has been scoring runs consistently, contributed with a well-made 34 but others down the line couldn’t finish the job on time and lost the match by 1 run.
Earlier, the bowlers proved to be too expensive and despite Wahab Riaz taking 3 wickets, the opponents galloped away to 200 runs batting first. The bowling department has spinners like Mohammad Asghar, Hafeez and Afridi, who have helped them win many a match before and can outwit the Kings here. Speedsters include Riaz, Hasan Ali, Chirs Jordan and captain Sammy himself.
They had lost the match against Kings in the league stage recently and the batsmen could take a cautious approach against spinners like Imad Wasim and Usama Mir. Kamran Akmal and Malan are in good form to set a solid foundation while Hafeez, Samuels, Afridi and Haris Sohail could try to forge steady partnerships here.
From being at the bottom of the table to clinching a thrilling victory against United in the qualifiers, Karachi Kings have come a long way and they could be the side to look out for. Defending 126 was no easy task against United but the bowlers held their nerves together and delivered to perfection. Spinners Imad Wasim and Usama Mir claimed 3 wickets each while speedster Mohammad Amir’s stunning 3-7 in less than 3 overs, helped the Kings demolish the opposition and clinch a win by 44 runs.
The batting line-up comprising of stalwarts like Chris Gayle, Sangakkara, Shoaib Malik, Pollard and Bopara didn’t come out all guns blazing but they did enough to give the bowlers a fighting chance. Against Zalmi earlier, Babar Azam and Sangakkara had built a 72-run opening stand and they could do well in the upcoming tie also. Shoaib Malik’s unbeaten 51 and Bopara’s 30 off 20 took the scoreboard to 174, which was defended successfully by a combined effort of spinners and pacers.
Fast-bowlers Usman Khan, Sohail Khan and Mohammad Amir have been among the wicket-takers consistently and they can remove the opponents at regular intervals here. Imad Wasim, Usama Mir and Malik add depth to the attack and are in good form to repeat the winning performance.
Zalmi has done well to get to this stage but their narrow loss against Gladiators exposed some weak links in the batting; the bowlers too put up a dismal show compared to the Kings’ bowlers and this could be a decider in the upcoming match. Going by the recent form, we feel that Karachi Kings are clear favourites to win on Friday and make it to the finals.