Karachi Kings, under their new captain, Imad Wasim will kick off their PSL 3 campaign against the most successful team of the league, Quetta Gladiators. Kings have been failed to register a win against the Gladiators in their past four encounters, however, things can be different this time.
Imad Wasim, an aggressive young captain, can inject a new energy in the side. The 29-year old has led Pakistan U-19 side successfully in the past and he has been a successful captain in the domestic circuit as well. Moreover, he has got that presence in the field that can lift the morale of the whole unit. On the other hand, Sarfraz Ahmed is a brilliant skipper, he has led Pakistan to a fairy-tale win in Champions Trophy, but even before that, under his leadership, Pakistan defended a low total of 110 runs in the U-19 World Cup final against India in 2006. Moreover, he has martialed the Gladiators to two consecutive PSL finals, but unfortunately remained runner-ups at both the occasions. He will look to take his team over the line this time.
Karachi Kings will have the Shahid Afridi-factor in the third season of Pakistan Super League. After having two successful years with Peshawar Zalmi, Afridi has moved to Karachi Kings. Imad has earlier mentioned that presence of Afridi will help him leading the side. Moreover, young guns of the team have expressed excitement regarding playing with the legend and how will boost their confidence. Shahid Afridi is a game-changer with both the bat or the ball. Until he will be in the game, Sarfraz & company will have to stay on their toes.
Quetta Gladiators have a solid batting line. Kevin Pietersen is likely to retire from cricket the third edition of PSL, so he will be hoping to sign off in style. Other than him, Riley Russow, Shane Watson and Jason Roy make their batting line the one to be feared. Whereas, among local players, Umar Amin, Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed will hold the key for them. Anwar Ali, Mohammad Nawaz and the U-19 captain, Hasan Khan can also be very handy for them.
Talking about Karachi Kings’ batting, they also have a lot of firepower. They have got the top-ranked T20I batsman, Babar Azam followed by South African batsman Collin Ingram and Karachi Kings’ key component Ravi Bopara. Joe Denly can be a surprise prospect for the Kings at the top of the order as he is a good player of of pace as well as of spin. Khurram Manzoor is in the form of his life, he can be dangerous for any bowling line if he gets a chance. The veteran, Boom Boom Afridi and skipper Imad Wasim add much-needed flamboyance in the Karachi Kings batting line.
However, comparing the bowling lines of the two sides, Karachi Kings hold a much more competent attack. They have got all the weapons in their arsenal be it pace or spin. Mohammad Amir will lead the bowling for the Kings, he will have T20 specialists Tymal Mills, Imad Wasim, Shahid Afridi and Usama Mir to support him. They are all the kind of bowlers who can easily bowl their full spell. Other then them, Ravi Bopara is also a handy option for them. Whereas, Quetta Gladiators will heavily depend on all-rounders like Anwar Ali, Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Khan. Rahat Ali and Mir Hamza are two well-known specialist pacers in their line-up. Joffra Archer, was impressive during the Big Bash League and he has been as a bright prospect for world cricket at the moment. Moreover, if Rashid Khan is available to them, he will be a tricky campaigner to counter.
In a nutshell, it seems like a contest between Karachi Kings’ bowlers against Quetta Gladiators’ batsmen. Both the teams will look to start with a convincing win, which will give them confidence for the rest of the tournament.
Expected team line-ups
Karachi Kings: Babar Azam, Joe Denly, Collin Ingram, Ravi Bopara, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan, Hasan Mohsin, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Tymal Mills, Usama Mir
Quetta Gladiators: Asad Shafiq, Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen, Riley Russow, Umar Amin, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Khan, Anwar Ali, Mir Hamza, Jofra Archer.