Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans will be looking for a winning start in the Pakistan Super League season four as they clash on the second day of the event in Dubai.
Multan Sultans have new management after the group which owned it defaulted, giving young Ali Tareen a chance to take forward the franchise under a new coach in Johan Botha but the same captain Shoaib Malik.
Karachi Kings too have minor changes in the team management with legendary fast bowler, Wasim Akram, joining as president while Shahid Afridi switched to Multan after playing for Karachi in the last season.
Karachi leads the head to head with one win in two matches while the first clash between the teams had to be abandoned due to rain. The 63-run win at Dubai was owed to two players – Joe Denly (who made 78) and Afridi (3-18) are no more part of Karachi team.
But still, Karachi has the firepower to dismantle the equally good Multan. They will hope Twenty20’s best batsman Babar Azam anchors them to a good total.
At the top Karachi have two dashing openers in Colin Munro and Awais Zia. A potent pace attack comprising of Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan and Usman Shinwari do the rest.
Karachi also have two exciting spinners in Abrar Ahmed and Umer Khan. Abrar is a finger spinner whose carrom ball can beguile the best of the batsmen while Umer is a unique left-arm who is effective in limited over matches.
Multan will hope Afridi, Malik and West Indian Andre Russell — who switched from Islamabad to Multan as a replacement for Steve Smith — fire them in the slog overs. England’s Laurie Evans — top run scorer in their Twenty20 event — is also a handy addition to the team.
Multan have the services of Pakistan discard Junaid Khan who will have a point to prove to head coach Mickey Arthur, also the coach of Karachi Kings. If Junaid does well in the PSL he could be redrafted in Pakistan’s team for the World Cup.
Australian Chris Green will handle Multan’s spin department while rookie paceman Illyas Khan can also make an impression if selected for the match.
So a cracker of a match is expected with a capacity crowd at Dubai stadium on Friday.