KARACHI: Both Karachi Kings and Islamabad United will be looking to extend their winning spree when they face each other in the sixth match of the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) 2021 season at the National Stadium today.
The match begins at 7pm.
The Kings and United won their initial outings in a contrasting manner.
Karachi Kings had outclassed the 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators by seven wickets. Former two-time winners United, on the other hand, overcame hiccups to eventually beat Multan Sultans by just three wickets thanks to a well-crafted knock from English all-rounder Lewis Gregory who also had taken two crucial wickets with his medium-fast bowling.
Kings look more balanced. Although their resources are yet to be tested as the event progresses, a glimpse of the first game indicates that they are hard to beat.
The big positive sign for them is that their frontline bowler Mohammad Amir seems to be in great form. He bowled with rhythm and put in his best against Quetta Gladiators, finishing with 1-14 in four overs.
Arshad Iqbal also hit the right areas and was later declared as the man of the match for his career-best figures of 3-16 in four overs.
Kings played with three pacers (Amir, Arshad, Waqas) and three all-rounders (Imad, Yamin, Dan Christian) in the first match. They need to play Qasim Akram against United as the off-spinner has the capability to leave an impression and his induction will give more variety to the hosts. Qasim, who had an impressive first-class season while representing Central Punjab, has also the talent to bat impressively.
Kings will depend in batting on Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Joe Clarke, Mohammad Nabi and Colin Ingram. English wicket-keeper batsman Clarke showed his class in the opener, blasting 23-ball 46 and Nabi smashed 14-ball 30 not out to ring an alarm bell for the oppositions.
Nabi has retired from the Test cricket. He may leave Kings at the end of the PSL for Afghanistan’s T20 series against Zimbabwe in the UAE from March 17.
Meanwhile Shadab Khan-led United will carry their confidence of toppling experienced Multan Sultans into their second game. But their batting against Multan looked fragile. They had almost lost their opening match as chasing 151 they were gasping at 76-6 at one stage but Gregory and a late 12-ball 22 cameo from Faheem Ashraf did the work for them.
Pulling off a tough first win may have further strengthened their resolve to take the field more confidently against Kings.
Head to head
Both teams have so far played 14 matches against each other in the PSL with United winning eight and Karachi emerging triumphant six times. Last season Kings won both legs.
Both teams held practice sessions on Tuesday for what could be a crunch slot.
Karachi Kings: Amir Yamin, Arshad Iqbal, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Chadwick Walton, Dan Christian, Danish Aziz, Imad Wasim (captain), Joe Clarke, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Ilyas, Noor Ahmed, Sharjeel Khan, Qasim Akram, Waqas Maqsood, Zeeshan Malik
Islamabad United: Ahmed Saifi Abdullah, Alex Hales, Zeeshan Zameer, Asif Ali, Paul Sterling, Fawad Ahmad, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Lewis Gregory, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Musa Khan, Phil Salt, Rohail Nazir, Ali Khan, Shadab Khan (captain), Zafar Gohar