We have witnessed an amazing start to this year's PSL, with new entrants the Multan Sultans defeating last year's champions, Peshawar Zalmi. The stage is set therefore for Day 2 of the Pakistan Super League, with 2 matches in Dubai.
The first of the doubleheader today would be played between Karachi Kings and runners-up of the last 2 editions, Quetta Gladiators.
Imad Wasim will lead the new look Karachi Kings against the most successful team of the Pakistan Super League, Quetta Gladiators, who will be led by Pakistan's highly successful captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed.
Karachi Kings have revamped their team this year and have managed to bring in Shahid Afridi with the aim of changing their team's fortunes. They have also got in their ranks Colin Ingram and Joe Denly, who are coming off some impressive performances in the recently concluded Super Smash and Big Bash. Ravi Bopara has been retained and he is expected to be the pillar that supports their middle order.
The Quetta Gladiators, on the other hand, will be looking to go one step further this year after finishing runners-up in both the previous editions of the PSL. With Kevin Pietersen announcing his retirement from cricket after PSL 2018, all eyes would be on him.
After losing their highest run-scorer of last season, Ahmed Shahzad, the Gladiators have signed Australian veteran all-rounder Shane Watson. He along with Rilee Rossouw adds a lot of strength to their batting at the top. All eyes would also be on bowling sensation, Jofra Archer, who has set the T20 leagues around the world on fire.
Quetta Gladiators (From): Rilee Rossouw, Jason Roy, Kevin Pietersen, Rameez Raja, Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin, Sarfraz Ahmed(w/c), Shane Watson, Mohammad Nawaz, Mahmudullah, Jofra Archer, Saad Ali, Saud Shakeel, Anwar Ali, Rashid Khan, Hassan Khan Mohammad, Mir Hamza, Rahat Ali
Karachi Kings (From): Babar Azam, Joe Denly, Colin Ingram, Khurram Manzoor, Lendl Simmons, Saifullah Bangash, Eoin Morgan, Mohammad Rizwan(w), Mohammed Taha, Tabish Khan, Imad Wasim(c), Ravi Bopara, Hasan Mohsin, Shahid Afridi, David Wiese, Usama Mir, Tymal Mills, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan
Karachi Kings - England captain, Eoin Morgan is unavailable due to national commitment.
Quetta Gladiators - Usman Khan is a doubtful starter today but his fitness would be assessed before the match and the Quetta coach is quite optimistic about his progress and expects him to be ready to play. Jason Roy and the star leg-spinner from Afghanistan, Rashid Khan is not available due to national duties.
What to expect:
Expect another cracker of a contest with both the teams evenly matched, but the new look Karachi Kings hold a small edge over the Quetta Gladiators. This is the same ground on which Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim had taken 5 wickets in a match previously. They also have Mohammad Amir, who can swing the match in their favour.
T20 statistics at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
Total matches - 43
Matches won batting first - 20
Matches won bowling first - 22
Average 1st Inns scores - 141
Average 2nd Inns scores - 125
Highest total recorded - 211/3 (20 Ov) by SL vs Pak
Lowest total recorded - 71/10 (13.2 Ov) by IRE vs Afg
Highest score chased -183/5 (19.4 Ov) by Afg vs UAE
Lowest score defended - 139/8 (20 Ov) by Afg vs IRE
The toss might not affect the result on this ground, however, like in the first match of PSL 2018, between Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans, both teams' captains would like to win the toss, bowl first and then go after the runs.
I expect the team batting first to score between 140 and 160.
All eyes would be on Shahid Afridi and Kevin Pietersen and I expect them to dictate the fate of this match for their respective teams.Published 23 Feb 2018, 16:33 IST