Kings desperate for points as Qalandars seek second win
SHARJAH February 16: Traditional rivals Karachi and Lahore lock horns in what is expected to be a high octane clash at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium tonight, match eight of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017.
The two main cricketing nurseries of Pakistan are currently placed at the bottom of the five teams table after a slow start to their 2017 campaign.
Qalandars recorded an impressive win against Islamabad United before crashing to a 59 run total and eventual defeat at the hands of Peshawar Zalmi last week while the much fancied Kings’ line-up have endured two heavy defeats at the hands of Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators in their opening two games played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Kings’ have all to play for and can ill afford another sub-par performance against the Qalandars, the much vaunted top-order comprising of Chris Gayle, Shahzaib Hasan and Kumar Sangakkara has failed to fire in the first two games and if the most expensive PSL franchise has any hopes of making an impression today one of the big three needs to come good.
Young Pakistan star Babar Azam scored an impressive 50 against the Gladiators and captain Sangakkara would once again be heavily relying on a contribution from the in-form batsman, all-rounders Shoaib Malik and Ravi Bopara must also share the responsibility and make full use of their experience today.
Sangakkara must be worried about his bowling line-up that lacks firepower besides the opening pair of Mohammad Amir and Sohail Khan, left-arm spinner Imad Wasim is a vital cog in the bowling line-up and Sangakkara is likely to demand a big effort by the talented all-rounder who has looked slightly off colour in the opening two games.
Brendon McCullum led Qalandars went down swinging against Zalmi and their overzealous approach saw them losing their entire ten wickets inside the first 11 overs, McCullum might be forced to review his approach on the slower Sharjah track where Gladiators and United batsmen struggled to play the big shots in the game played yesterday.
But the fight back despite a woefully poor score against the Zalmis warmed the hearts of the Qalandars fan and McCullum would be hoping for a similar bowling performance by his bowlers led by the outstanding spinning duo of Sunil Narine and Yasir Shah.
A large weekend crowd is expected to fill-up the Sharjah stadium in what should be a cracking game of cricket.