PSL 2021 Preview: Karachi require to fine tune as Islamabad focus on playing old rhythm

Somya Kapoor

Somya Kapoor

Author| Jun 13, 2:53 PM

Photo Credits: Twitter
Photo Credits: Twitter

Islamabad United will be taking on the Karachi Kings in Abu Dhabi on Monday in what could turn out to be an exciting clash. Karachi who were sitting at the top of the points table before the tournament was suspended due to a rise in Covid-19 cases within the franchises had a disappointing start when the tournament was resumed.

They lost the first match that they played after resumption to Multan Sultans. Well, the defeat didn’t really cause much of a problem to their place in the points table as they were still placed at helm position. 

But the Kings need to find their way back in the tournament and this game against United might be that turning point for them in the competition. 

The reason behind such a statement is that the Karachi Kings suffered a defeat against Islamabad United in the last encounter that the two sides played against each other. Despite a ton from opener Sharjeel Khan and half-century from Babar Azam, the Kings stood at the losing end eventually. The Imad Wasim-led side will be looking to take the revenge of this defeat. 

On the other hand, Islamabad thumped Quetta Gladiators by 10 wickets but had a struggling start to the proceedings against Lahore Qalandars. Eventually, they went on to win the game by a huge margin of 28 runs to go to the top of the table, the top-order failed to leave a mark unlike their game against the Gladiators. Asif Ali and Iftikhar Ahmed have been rock solid, and the bowlers are in phenomenal form as well.

While Islamabad need to make some alterations regarding the top order, Karachi would be seeking to turn fortunes for themselves. Overall, a high-voltage drama is expected if both the teams play to their calibre and abilities. 

Match Details

Match – Islamabad United vs Karachi Kings – 22nd match

Venue – Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Time – 09:30 PM IST, 04:00 PM GMT

Pitch Report

The track in Abu Dhabi so far has been helpful for the spinners. While the chasing has been a bit of a problem so far in the tournament, the dew factor can still play a major role and help the sides chasing a target. 

Maybe the trends haven’t favoured the teams batting second much but still the captain who wins the toss should bank upon going after a target. 

Team News

Islamabad United: The Shadab Khan-led side suffered a huge blow on Sunday after fast bowler Hasan Ali opted out of the PSL 2021 citing personal reasons. "I want to say to all Islamabad United fans, unfortunately due to personal reasons I have to pull out of the remaining PSL matches," Hasan said. Though the skipper Shadab accepted Hasan’s decision but also said that it is a ”huge loss” for the team. 

"We understand Hassan's situation right now, family always comes first. We wish Hassan the very best of luck. He will obviously be a huge loss to our team and the tournament, but some things are more important than cricket. At Islamabad United we have always looked after each other like a family and we will continue to do so," Shadab said.

While Unman Khawaja and Colin Munro played a huge role in Islamabad’s exciting win against Gladiators, the duo’s failure against Qalandars has become a cause of concern for the team’s think tank. These two opening batsmen would need to get back in form to produce some fruitful results for their side. 

Karachi Kings: Karachi Kings would be looking towards opener Sharjeel Khan to unleash something similar that he did when these two sides locked horns with each other on the last occasion. 

Apart from him, Babar Azam who is one of the finest batsmen of modern-day cricket needs to make a bit changes to his on ground planning when he is chasing a score. 

In the last clash against Multan, Babar eventually failed to take his team over the line which cost his side two crucial points. A bit of a rejig in his run-scoring rate while chasing a target might be helpful for his team.

Karachi have a strong line up though especially the presence of Mohammad Amir in the ranks makes them well equipped as far as the fast bowling is concerned.  

Probable Playing XI:

Islamabad United– Colin Munro, Usman Khawaja, Hussain Talat, Rohail Nazir (wk), Shadab Khan (c), Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Muhammad Musa, Ali Khan, Akif Javed, Mohammad Wasim Jr

Karachi Kings–  Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Martin Guptill, Najibullah-Zadran, Chadwick Walton (wk), Thisara Perera, Imad Wasim (c), Qasim Akram, Mohammad Amir, Arshad Iqbal, Waqas Maqsood

Fantasy XI

Colin Munro, Usman Khawaja, Shadab Khan (C), Asif Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Martin Guptill, Thisara Perera, Imad Wasim (VC), Mohammad Amir, Akif Javed

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