Can Kings be trusted in eliminator?

Peshawar Zalmi v Karachi Kings
Monday 21 June 19.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Zalmi go off boil

Zalmi won two of their five since restart. They finished third on run rate with the same amount of points and wins as Multan and Karachi in fourth.

They have lost key players. David Miller and Fabian Allen have left for the West-Indies South Arica T20 series. Fidel Edwards, who was pace back-up, has joined them. They still have Rovman Powell and Sherfane Rutherford, though.

In their last outing they conceded a massive 247 against league winners Islamabad and their bowling looks likely to deny them the chance to contest the final. They’ve not really replaced Saqib Mahmood, who was running through teams in part one.

Oddly, though, they razed Karachi in their previous game. The Kings could manage only 108.

Possible XI Zazai, Akmal, Haider, Shoaib, Powell, Rutherford, Wahab, Abrar Umaid, Irgam, Sameen,

Kings still alive

Karachi Kings scraped home in the end. They got their house together, winning their last two to qualify on run rate.

But caution is advised with this lot. Did they only get those victories because they were against Quetta Gladiators, who had checked out a long time ago, and a Lahore team who spectacularly imploded? They had been well beaten in their three previous matches in Abu Dhabi.

Bar that calamity against Zalmi, their characteristics have been pretty reliable. They have busted 170 or more three times. And their bowling has been wayward. In part two they are the only side to go past that mark and fail to defend.

Selection has also been an issue. Martin Guptill has been a disaster at No 3 while Waqas Maqsood, their most potent wicket-taker, has been left out. Thisara Perera was a forgettable replacement in the re-draft and has also been dropped.

Possible XI Babar, Sharjeel, Guptill, Zadran, Walton, Imad, Aziz, Ilyas, Arshad, Amir, Noor Ahmad

Pitch report

The first-innings scores so far at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 149-2/176-1/169-1/176-1/183-1/108-2/190-2/166-2/197-1/133-2/170-1/176-1/143-2.
We are expecting runs for this one. Fingers crossed that Karachi bat first and we can start playing 170 or at around the even money mark and then taking small risks on monstrous numbers in-play. Look out for 190, 200 or 210.

Sportsbook go 6/4 that both teams score 170 and 2/1 that 340 or more runs are scored. Neither seems a particularly risky wager given the potential for bowling profligacy.

Zalmi could be a trade

Kings are 1.865/6 favourites with Zalmi expected to settle at 2.1011/10. We’d be happy with the latter because we’re just not convinced Kings are worthy of skinny favouritism.

At no stage have they shown they are reliable and that previous head-to-head could well have been their last serious test. Karachi are hugely reliant on fast starts from Babar Azam and Sharjeel Khan.

Zalmi pinned them down before and they can do so again. At the least we expect Zalmi to trade as short favourites themselves.

Remember, the loser of this goes home and the winner will face the defeated team from the Islamabad-Multan qualifier for a place in the final. Our preview is here.

Tops value

Zalmi have a plan for Babar, who has been price-boosted to 2/1 for top kings bat. Wahab Riaz got him for a duck with fast inswinging yorker in that hammering discussed earlier. At least Babar, who top scored against Lahore in their last but one, is forewarned. Sharjeel is 10/3.

There is decent value for top Zalmi bat. Shoaib Malik is too big at 5s, although you will probably get two points bigger in-play.

Mohammad Ilyas is keeping Waqas on the bench and the 3/1 he tops as Karachi bowler looks big. Really he should be favourite with a strike rate of 12 compared to ridiculous jolly Mohammad Amir who is taking a wicket every 56 balls.

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