Karachi Kings v Quetta Gladiators
Saturday 20 February 14.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Kings ready to defend title
Karachi Kings are the holders and pre-tournament favourites. Sportsbook make them 3/1 to land back-to-back trophies, something that has not been done before in PSL’s short history.
They boast the best batsman in the tournament in Babar Azam and excellent middle-order options to launch into the stratosphere off a platform built by Babar. Colin Ingram and Daniel Christian at Nos 3 and 4 possibly give them the strongest top four in the tournament.
With the ball, watch out for tyro pacer Waqas Mahmood. He’s another quick off the Pakistan production line and we expect him to have a breakthrough season.
Possible XI Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Ingram, Christian, Imad Wasim, Walton, Nabi, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Waqas Maqsood, Arshad Iqbal
Quetta could struggle
Quetta finished second-bottom last year. And before a ball has been bowled they have lost the services of Chris Gayle giving them potential issues at the top of the order.
Tom Banton is expected to start in the opening berth but with only 74 runs in seven innings last season for Peshawar Zalmi he needs to show a marked improvement. Down the line, they may well decide to open with Cameron Delport or Sarfaraz Ahmed. One suspects that in a bowler-dominated tournament, the batting line-up may struggle to consistently post big enough scores.
The decision to pick up Dale Steyn rings alarm bells. Steyn is well past his best and it’s odd that they deem him worthy of a squad place, particularly when in Mohammad Hasnain and Usman Khan Shinwari they have two excellent pacers, and the emerging Naseem Shah.
Possible XI Banton, Azam Khan, Du Plessis, Delport, Cutting, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Zahid Mahmood, Usman Shinwari, Qais Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain
Eight of the last ten PSL matches at the Karachi National Stadium have been won by the chaser. This is a bias which is also reflected in the second venue for the tournament, Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium where seven of the last sides batting first have lost. Toss is key, then and we would be very surprised if the captain who wins the toss does not chase. More than 160 has been busted only four times in the last 12 matches. We’re not tempted by the 15/8 that Sportsbook offer about both teams busting 160 or more.
Karachi are 1.695/7 with Quetta 2.3811/8. Although we understand that gulf in odds because Karachi boast a stronger possible XI, betting them before the toss is not advised.
And with their odds very likely to take a clip in a chase, we’re not going to play them. Instead we’d prefer a trade on Quetta batting second. They could well trade at 1.804/5 jollies with those low first-innings scores giving their bowlers encouragement. And in Hasnain and Shinwari they have two out-and-out wicket-takers who will go hard at Babar and co.
Waqas is coming under the radar. He won’t for long. The 10/3 that he takes top bowler honours for Karachi is a bet, chiefly because he boasts a superior strike rate to 5/2 jolly Mohammad Amir.
Babar, the magic man, is 2/1 for top bat. On win rate that is also a wager but as we’ve just had a winner on him for Pakistan we tend to swerve a back-to-back success.
For top Quetta bat, Ben Cutting looks tasty at 11/1 because we have little faith in that top order. Delport is a reasonable fancy at 10/3
Bumper PSL team-by-team preview on Cricket…Only Bettor