Sharjah: Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi will square off against each other in Sharjah on Thursday in the ninth match of the Pakistan Super League. Both the sides have played two matches each, winning one and losing one.
Kings outlasted Multan Sultans in their opening game in Dubai on Friday by a narrow seven-run margin before going down to arch-rivals Lahore Qalandars in their second game as they failed to chase a modest 139-run target.
In contrast, Zalmi, champions of the 2017 PSL, lost to Quetta Gladiators by six wickets before defeating Lahore by seven wickets to stage a comeback in the fourth edition of the league.
Karachi Kings will be weighing the option of drafting Australia’s fast bowler Aaron Summers who has the ability to bowl at 150kph on a regular basis, replacing the generous Sohail Khan who went for two for 57 in his four overs in the first match and 29 in the next, without taking a wicket.
Peshawar has a well-tuned pace attack, comprising of Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Umaid Asif and Sameen Gul who can run through the best of batting line-ups with their wicket taking ability as they did against Lahore in Dubai. Hasan led the rout of Lahore for just 78 with four for 15 while Wahab fetched three for 17.
Peshawar will be sweating on the fitness of Misbah-ul-Haq who missed the last game against Lahore with a slight hamstring injury, as they would seek stability in the middle-order with dashing opener Kamran Akmal also failing in the Lahore game. For Peshawar, Umar Amin hit a brilliant 61 not out in the modest run-chase against Lahore.
Peshawar team management said Misbah’s injury is not serious and will be assessed before the match.
Karachi Kings will also hope their star openers –Liam Livingstone and Babar Azam – regained their form which saw them set a new PSL record for the first wicket with a magnificent 157-run stand against Multan in their opening game. They both were unimpressive in the defeat against Lahore.
Karachi’s spearhead Mohammad Amir will also hope he gets the same wicket-taking bite after getting PSL personal best of four for 25 against Multan before getting just one against Lahore.
Both Karachi and Peshawar have exciting spinners.
Karachi’s FATA born Umer Khan has impressed in the two games, taking the prized wicket of Qalandars’ AB de Villiers, while Zalmi’s leggie Ibtisam Sheikh had made his mark last year and was impressive in his only outing against Lahore, grabbing two for 14 in his four overs.
The two promising spinners will be encouraged by the Sharjah wicket as it is expected to be helpful for the spinners.
Thursday (match 9) – Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi, Sharjah (match starts 9pm PST)