It can’t get bigger than this. Ladies and gentleman, we’re going to witness the most anticipated match in the five-year history of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The arch-rivals are going to face-off in the 2nd semi-final at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on Tuesday evening.
Both sides have always produced enthralling encounters and the fans can’t wait to witness these two teams take on each other.
Lahore Qalandars Journey:
At the start of the PSL 2020, nobody would have thought about seeing the Qalandars in the semi-finals. They were carrying on with their usual performance by losing their first three matches of the tournament comprehensively.
However, Ben Dunk’s entry with the famous bubble gum against Quetta Gladiators completely turned the fortunes of the Qalandars. They defeated the defending champions in their fourth match to register their first victory of the tournament.
Suddenly, everybody in the Qalandars’ clan started believing once again. They were jolted once again by Islamabad United in their next clash but they made a terrific comeback in the championship by defeating the Sarfaraz Ahmed led Gladiators in a one-sided affair.
In the first match against Kings, Qalandars’ bowlers were taken to the cleaners but once again the aggressive left-hander came to the rescue of the Qalandars. Dunk unleashed his beast mode against the Kings and smacked 99* off just 40 balls to firmly put Qalandars in the playoffs race.
By defeating the Zalmis in their next encounter, the Sohail Akhtar led franchise only needed to win one of their last two matches against Multan and Karachi to qualify for the semi-finals.
But they were humiliated by the hands of rivals Kings in the second encounter at National Stadium as Babar & Sharjeel provided the home side a perfect win of 10 wickets.
The Qalandars stood out in their last group stage match against the table-toppers Multan to confirm their place in the semi-finals. Chris Lynn smoked a violent ton as they finished at no.3 in the points table after winning five and losing as many matches in the group stage. However, the hard-hitting Australian will not feature as he is going back to his country due to Corona virus fears.
So far, the top order batters of Lahore have contributed the most in their success but, the efforts of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Samit Patel and Dilbar Hussain with the bowl cannot be neglected. Haris Rauf has been pretty ordinary so far in the tournament and they would like him to return to his best before the big match.
Karachi Kings Journey:
There was so much hype created regarding the new management of Karachi Kings for the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The inclusion of Dean Jones as the Head Coach of the franchise was waved here and there on the social media before the start of the tournament.
The Karachi Kings have been pretty ordinary in their performance in the previous four editions of the PSL and they have never been able to play in the finals of the tournament. However, the new management under the supervision of Dean Jones and Wasim Akram has done wonders so far for the men in blue.
They started off pretty well against the Zalmis by scoring a mammoth total of 201 in their first match. They won their first encounter against the men in yellow but lost their next two games against Quetta and Multan.
The Imad Wasim led franchise returned to form in their 4th encounter against Islamabad United and they kept the momentum going by winning their 5th match as well against Peshawar Zalmi. Their next game against the Sultans wasn’t completed because of rain and they surrendered to Dunk’s brilliance in their 7th group stage match against the Qalandars.
However, the revenge was taken by Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam in their next face-off against the Qalandars when they handed over a 10-wicket victory to the visitors. The Kings have been simply brilliant in their last two matches as they finished at no.2 in the points table after beating Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators.
Karachi Kings will face the arch-rivals Lahore Qalandars in the 2nd semi-final and it is going to be the first time ever that these two teams will clash against each other in such a way high-profile game.
The batting duo of Sharjeel Khan and Babar Zaman will be the key of Karachi Kings as they have contributed a lot in the success of the franchise so far. The absence of Alex Hales will surely hurt the Kings but, seasoned campaigners like Iftikhar Ahmed, Cameron Delport and Chadwick Walton will surely try to take their team to the first ever PSL final.
Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim will have to take the responsibility for Karachi in the bowling department besides Chris Jordan and Umaid Asif. It would be interesting to see if Umer Khan gets a chance in the playing XI because, he had a horrific outing against Ben Dunk and he will surely try to avenge himself.
Karachi Kings Probable Playing XI:
Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Cameron Delport, Iftikhar Ahmed, Chadwick Walton, Imad Wasim, Chris Jordan, Umaid Asif, Mohammad Amir, Umer Khan/Usama Mir, Arshad Iqbal/Waqas Maqsood
Lahore Qalandars Probable Playing XI:
Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Akhtar, Mohammad Hafeez, Ben Dunk. Samit Patel, Dilbar Hussain, Salman Ali Agha, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Farzan Raja/Maaz Khan