Three consecutive losses have derailed Peshawar’s PSL campaign after starting the tournament relatively well. Their opponents haven’t had much luck of late either, Karachi have managed just one win out of their past four outings, but strangely enough still sit third on the standings.
With both teams in desperate need of a win tomorrow, it’s hard to contemplate anyone actually coming out on top given the amount of defeats these two teams have encountered over the past 3-4 matches respectively. Zalmi are yet to break their three-game losing streak, while the Kings got a much-needed victory against the Sultans a couple games ago, but their form guide over the past four matches doesn’t make for good reading if you support Karachi. Apart from the Lahore Qalandars, it looks like everyone will get an opportunity to bump each other off the pedestal at the top of the table, in fact Peshawar and Multan were vying for that No. 1 position not long ago, and now they find themselves slipping to the bottom of the standings.
You can’t help but think that ever since Bangladeshi opening batsman Tamim Iqbal departed Peshawar Zalmi’s squad, they’ve lacked that extra batting depth as well as class at the top of the order. Tournaments like the PSL can be brutal at times, especially when key players are departing at different stages in the fixture. After a couple failures from Iqbal’s replacement Andre Fletcher at the top of the order, skipper Mohammad Hafeez elevated himself and was quite solid in his innings of 31. Dwayne Smith continues to pop-up at No. 3 when we least expect it, the former West Indian all-rounder has struck some powerful blows so far, including 49 in Peshawar’s most recent outing against Quetta. Kamran Akmal has also been fairly-subdued in his past three innings for Zalmi, so he needs to get back into the swing of things before it’s too late. The batting hasn’t been all-that concerning though, their reliance on Hasan Ali with the ball however has caused some harm. Take nothing away from the 24-year-old seamer, he’s a future star of the game, but it appears if he as an individual doesn’t make an impact, the team will follow in his footsteps. As a result, Ali has struggled in recent times claiming just one wicket in his past three outings, reflective of Peshawar’s three-straight losses. Wahab Riaz has been brilliant at times but lacks consistency, and Mohammad Asghar has had no luck so far in the tournament. A Kamran Akmal all-out-assault with the bat would do wonders for the teams confidence, the man has three T20 centuries to his name already.
Looking at the Karachi Kings team on paper, it’s hard to imagine they’ve only won a single match in their past four games. Star batsman Babar Azam has been in scintillating form with the willow, raising his bat to the crowd three times in his past four innings despite his team struggling to get the points on the board. At the end of the day, you’d rather a win than individual brilliance, but in this case Azam’s red-hot form with the bat could come in handy if his teammates can start contributing at a consistent rate. Colin Ingram is one of those players who hasn’t been able to step up when called upon, apart from his quick-fire 29 not out against the Sultans, Ingram has been a casualty in the line-up during these past four games. Hopefully the addition of West Indian opener Lendl Simmons can help them get back on track, he was impressive against the Qalandars notching up a half-century in fewer than forty balls. English all-rounder Ravi Bopara really needs to lift as well, he’s playing as a specialist batsman and is more than capable of doing so, but he’s fallen well-short of expectations so far. While Shahid Afridi is an excitement machine with the bat in hand, the Pakistani all-rounder is doing most of his damage with the ball these days. A six-hitting machine on his day with the willow, Afridi has mustered up some brilliant performances in the 2018 PSL with the ball so far, his legbreaks are certainly doing the trick in this format of the game. Some bowling highlights from the 38-year-old’s PSL campaign for Karachi includes 3/19 against Lahore, and more recently 3/18 against Multan. Unfortunately Afridi is the only bowler who seems to bring any X factor to the table in their bowling unit, Mohammad Amir is a quality International bowler but hasn’t taken over one wicket in his past four games, and skipper Imad Wasim who is usually so impactful hasn’t brought anything special to the table either. With all that being said, this match might not require a big-standout performance with the ball given Peshawar’s deteriorating-form, although the Kings bowling attack seems to be visibly-stronger when the two are matched against each other. The Kings could possibly be without their skipper for this next match after Imad Wasim suffered concussion after hitting his head hard on the turf in a catching attempt against Lahore, a huge blow for Karachi if Wasim were to be ruled out.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Peshawar Zalmi | PSL | 27th match | Sharjah
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Wahab Riaz
- Dwayne Smith
- Kamran Akmal
- Hasan Ali
Wildcard pick – Riki Wessels
Top 5 fantasy picks | Karachi Kings | PSL | 27th match | Sharjah
- Babar Azam
- Shahid Afridi
- Lendl Simmons
- Mohammad Amir
- Eoin Morgan
Wildcard pick – Colin Ingram
Peshawar Zalmi (possible) – 1. Mohammad Hafeez 2. Kamran Akmal (wk) 3. Dwayne Smith 4. Riki Wessels 5. Khushdil Shah/Haris Sohail 6. Liam Dawson 7. Darren Sammy © 8. Mohammad Asghar/Saad Nasim 9. Hasan Ali 10. Wahab Riaz 11. Umaid Asif.
Karachi Kings (Possible) – 1. Lendl Simmons 2. Joe Denly 3. Babar Azam 4. Colin Ingram 5. Ravi Bopara/Eoin Morgan 6. Shahid Afridi 7. Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 8. Imad Wasim/Usama Mir 9. Mohammad Irfan jr 10. Mohammad Amir 11. Usman Khan.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.