Just when you think a team like the Multan Sultans are going to run away with the competition, they prove you wrong with back-to-back losses which have resulted in them losing top spot on the points table as well. This just highlights how easy it is to fall off the pace despite being the frontrunners of the tournament for the first couple of weeks. The Sultans are up against the Karachi Kings who are also looking to work their way into the top three, and given their oppositions past two performance slumps, they’re a big chance to prolong Multan’s losing-streak.
Less than a week ago we were discussing just how solid the Sultans batting-core was, but it now appears to be showing some cracks as the PSL fixture continues to roll on. Only Kumar Sangakkara and skipper Shoaib Malik have looked threatening for the Sultans, but even they have slipped up at least once in the past two matches. What made Multan a force to be reckoned with was the amount of firepower they possessed throughout the order, not to mention that the top five batsmen were in fairly good touch in terms of form. Opener Ahmed Shehzad has been good without being great, he’s got numerous starts to an innings but needs to go on like Sangakkara has. It was astonishing that Umar Gul didn’t maintain his spot in the side after claiming a six-wicket haul against Quetta in a losing cause, because they certainly lacked his presence against the Qalandars. The bowling unit in general isn’t functioning as well as it was in their first four or five games either, thankfully a handful of these players aren’t the type of bowlers who get held down very often.
As mentioned, this is a golden opportunity for the Kings to take down one of the more-skilful teams in the competition, but they’re going to have to bowl a lot better than they did against the Gladiators who ran away with that match early on. Pakistani opener Khurram Manzoor should return to the Karachi line-up after being extremely hard done by when team management decided to drop him after scoring 51 off 41 balls against Islamabad, claiming “he didn’t rotate the strike enough”. Suffering a 67-run defeat in their last outing, the Kings would be crazy to leave Manzoor out for a second time. Key batting-duo Babar Azam and Ravi Bopara will play a vital role for their side in the middle order, while South African aggressor Colin Ingram hasn’t posted a decent score with the bat since Karachi’s opening game of the tournament. Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan & all—rounder Shahid Afridi also have a significant job to do late in the innings, quick runs on the board are crucial. Speaking of Afridi, the 38-year-old veteran has been their best option with the ball over the course of his past three matches, manufacturing figures of 2/22, 3/19 & 1/29. They really need Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir to lift as the star bowlers of the team.
If the Sultans were to lose this match, three-consecutive losses on the trot could be detrimental to their hopes of featuring in a finals campaign in the 2018 PSL. Knowing the amount of pride Kumar Sangakkara and Shoaib Malik portray, they’ll do everything in their powers to drag Multan across the line in this crucial match-up against Karachi. However, the Kings need a win just as much as the Sultans which makes this particular game very interesting, this could be the innings where Colin Ingram breaks the shackles with one of those swashbuckling-knocks that he’s renown for in South Africa’s domestic Ram Slam T20 competition. At one stage in the tournament, Leg-spinner Imran Tahir posted a hat-trick of three-wicket hauls, so he’s another one to watch out for in this encounter.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Multan Sultans | PSL | 22nd match | Dubai
- Kumar Sangakkara
- Sohail Tanvir
- Shoaib Malik
- Junaid Khan
- Imran Tahir
Wildcard pick – Mohammad Irfan
Top 5 fantasy picks | Karachi Kings | PSL | 22nd match | Dubai
- Babar Azam
- Usman Khan
- Shahid Afridi
- Imad Wasim
- Colin Ingram
Wildcard pick – Mohammad Rizwan
Multan Sultans (possible) – 1. Ahmed Shehzad 2. Kumar Sangakkara (wk) 3. Sohaib Maqsood 4. Shoaib Malik (c) 5. Kieron Pollard 6. Ross Whiteley/Darren Bravo 7. Saif Badar 8. Sohail Tanvir 9. Imran Tahir 10. Junaid Khan 11. Mohammad Irfan/Umar Gul.
Karachi Kings (possible) – 1. Khurram Manzoor 2. Joe Denly 3. Babar Azam 4. Colin Ingram 5. Ravi Bopara 6. Imad Wasim (c) 7. Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 8. Shahid Afridi 9. Mohammad Irfan jr 10. Mohammad Amir 11. Usman Khan.