The Pakistan Super League action moves to Sharjah and Chris Gayle faces his old team as the Karachi Kings play this PSL match against the Lahore Qalandars on 16th February 2017. Both teams haven’t had the best start in the league, so how will they go today? Have a listen to Shruti Chopra and Suneer Chowdhary’s to latest podcast or read excerpts of their discussion.
It’s a game between two teams you said would do well in the tournament but at the expense of antagonising you – between the two teams, they have played five matches and won just one. What’s happening, Suneer?
Strange start for the two teams and admittedly, expected them to do a lot better but that’s the advantage a league like this has for teams who make slow starts. Five teams in the tournament and they play 20 matches to decide which four of them go through to the playoffs – as funny as the format is, Karachi and Lahore will be thanking their stars they still have a very good chance of making the last four.
True that. From a cricketing point of view, what do you make of the start…starting with the Lahore Qalandars?
They have played three games, won one and lost the other two including a rather embarrassing loss at the hands of Peshawar Zalmi when they were bowled out for 59. It’s down to batting tactics for me – look, I am a big fan of captain Brendon McCullum’s aggressive tactics, especially when he captains them on the field but their batting strategy makes me wonder if they ever have a plan B. Going hammer and tongs at the top is one thing but to instil that into every batsman in the XI is akin to playing with the fire. It has a bigger chance of not coming off than it actually does and that’s where they have faltered so far.
And it’s even worse for the Karachi Kings, two defeats from two games making them the only side to have not won a game so far.
Let me read out their top seven for the first two games – Shazaib Hasan, Chris Gayle, Babar Azam, Kumar Sangakkara, Kieron Pollard, Shoaib Malik and Ravi Bopara with Imad Wasim at number eight. If a collection of these batsmen cannot sort its batting out in this format of the game, then I don’t know who will? Probably a Virat Kohli but not too many else. The top three need some time to settle down on what have been very strange-looking pitches so far and what’s probably bogging them down is the worry there’re others down the order who can also smash them – as I said, take time to suss out the surface, and like someone like Gayle has often done, start hitting after having faced a few deliveries.
Speaking of the pitches, what have you made of them so far?
It started with a score of 190 getting chased down in the first game, albeit in a rain-affected chase and since then there has not been one score over 160. A 136 has been defended, a 59 all out has been scored and the Zalmis, who needed 60 to win that game needed 17 overs and the loss of seven wickets to get to that score. Even stranger has been the weather – it’s rained in a game and been overcast in another game or two, helping bowlers a great deal, which I admit is fine on the odd occasion but batsmen and fans will hope the Sharjah surfaces are a lot more conducive to the batting.
Suneer’s what’s your prediction..
I think team chasing will have an advantage - look I must add one other thing, all bets are off if Chris Gayle gets going irrespective of whether the Kings are batting first or second!
And Shruti what’s your call for this game.. what do your cards say?
Lahore should be sharper with the ball and the way they begin and end with the bat – a little shaky in the middle overs but that shouldn’t do they too much damage.. whereas the Karachi Kings, despite having a good start with the bat, may not be able to keep the momentum going.. therefore.. it’s Tarot Advantage: Lahore Qalandars for me.