The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is all set to resume after it was suspended earlier this year. The defending champions Karachi Kings currently hold the top position in the points table, courtesy of a superior net run rate.
Karachi Kings have announced Mohammad Haris as a replacement for the UAE leg. However, some key players including Mohammad Nabi, Colin Ingram, Dan Christian, and Joe Clarke will be unavailable due to various reasons.
As we near the start of the business end of the tournament, we look at how the defending champions shape up, based on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats:
Also Read: PSL 6 to resume on June 1
Karachi Kings Squad:
Imad Wasim(c), Martin Guptill, Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir, Thisara Perera, Amir Yamin, Chadwick Walton, Sharjeel Khan, Waqas Maqsood, Muhammad Ilyas, Zeeshan Malik, Danish Aziz, Najeebullah Zadran, Arshad Iqbal, Qasim Akram, Abbas Afridi, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Haris
The pace department holds a very strong look even with the unavailability of certain overseas recruits. The depth in the local fast bowling talent holds the team in good stead. The pace attack is spearheaded by Mohammad Amir. It also has the likes of Mohammad Ilyas, and Arshad Iqbal, all of whom were really impressive in the first half of the season. The Karachi Kings will expect them to continue the good run.
The top-order holds a solid look with multiple quality options to bat in the top 3. Babar Azam and Sharjeel Khan are likely to open. Without the middle order powerhouse of Clarke, Ingram, and Nabi, they might be tempted to start with Guptill. The team might use one of Babar or Sharjeel at 3. Chadwick Walton remains the backup opener if Guptill does not have a good run with the bat.
The four overseas players missing batted at 3-6 for Karachi in the first half of the season. The absence of Ingram, Clarke, Nabi, and Christian will mean a totally new look middle order from what we saw earlier this season. More than the quality it will be the experience of the four players that Karachi will be missing in the second half.
The likes of Thisara Perera and Najibullah Zadran do have good experience as finishers but have been guilty of being inconsistent. Overall, the opposition will look to get into the vulnerable middle order as early as possible and Karachi will be expecting their top 3 to bat the majority of overs.
Despite the relatively weaker middle order, Karachi Kings can still be a dangerous side. The likes of Danish Aziz and Mohamamd Haris can be sandwiched between the top 3, Zadran and Perera. With experience before and after them, the youngsters might prove to be the game-changers.
For the young fast bowlers, the amount of exposure and opportunities they will be getting with this team will be huge and they should be looking to make the most of it and take the onus to close out games for their side under crunch situations.
Noor Ahmad, the chinaman bowler from Afghanistan, might prove to be the trump card in UAE. The youngster had a decent outing in the BBL. In the UAE, where the pitches might suit him, Karachi should use him at some stage of the tournament.
The defending champions lack experienced middle-order batter due to some notable absentees. The top 3 might play with relatively lesser freedom than they usually do.
The spin department might face the heat as pitches in UAE tend to favour the spinners and Karachi Kings lag behind a few other sides when it comes to spin bowling.
Karachi Kings Probable Playing XI:
Sharjeel Khan, Martin Guptill, Babar Azam, Mohammad Haris, Najeebullah Zadran, Imad Wasim, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Ilyas, Noor Ahmad, Arshad Iqbal
For all the latest cricket news, updates, live scores, and cricket fixtures log on to https://cricangel.com. You can choose to like us on Facebook or Subscribe to our YouTube Channel otherwise You can also opt to follow us on Instagram or Twitter.
(Image Courtesy: Karachi Kings Twitter)