Lahore Qalandars, the most disappointing team in Pakistan Super League’s history, will desperately aim for their first win in the third edition of the league as they take on Islamabad United while Karachi Kings will target return to winning ways in the doubleheader on Friday at Dubai on Thursday.
Lahore have lost all their five matches with a number of flaws in their approach, collapsing at least four of the five times they batted. Their campaign started with a huge collapse against Multan Sultans losing their seven wickets for just four runs after being well set at 132-3 for victory in their chase of the 180-run target.
Lahore will have to guard their batting collapses and if they do not address that in time on Thursday they will come close to the exit door. Brendon McCullum, Umar Akmal and Fakhar Zaman will have to take the responsibility to block one end in case the innings falters.
Lahore had another mighty fall in their match against Islamabad at Sharjah when they — chasing a modest 122-run target — lost their last nine wickets for 43 runs as the match tied on the last delivery.
Islamabad then clinched the Super Over much to the disappointment of their huge fans.
Islamabad will be without their key players Andre Russell — ruled out of the event with a hamstring injury — and Rumman Raees through a leg injury.
In the second match, Karachi Kings will seek a return to winning ways after losing their last match to Islamabad United by eight wickets. Their skilled allrounder Shahid Afridi will play the game as he has recovered from a knee injury.
Karachi will also consider their leg-spinner Usama Mir who after a successful last year has not played a match yet but considering the success of Multan’s Imran Tahir and absence of Afridi, Usman can come into consideration. More so, all three left-arm pacers Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari and Tymal Mills were expensive in the last game.
Karachi will once again look to a solid platform like the one Khurram Manzoor and Babar Azam gave through their half-centuries against Islamabad. But on the same side, Islamabad’s Luke Ronchi also hit form with his brilliant punishing 71 against them.
If Karachi wins they will also be back on track for the playoffs.