Kings look to draw first blood against Gladiators

  1. By our correspondent

KARACHI: Following two straight defeats, Karachi Kings will be looking to draw the first blood when they take on Quetta Gladiators in their HBL PSL 8 outing here at the National Stadium on Saturday (today).

Both the sides are yet to open their account as Quetta Gladiators lost their opener against Multan — by a heavy margin.

It was a shocking beginning to the Gladiators journey in Multan the other night when they were outclassed by Multan Sultans by nine wickets.

Quetta’s wickets tumbled within no time, only putting on 110, an under-par performance from a team with such big names as Jason Roy, Martin Guptil, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal and Iftikhar Ahmed. They completely failed against Isanullah’s superb bowling. The pacer took 5-12 to break the back of Gladiators.

But it is expected that Sarfaraz-led Gladiators will make amends in their quest for of a maiden win against Kings as the latter will be under immense pressure following two successive defeats.

“We have lost the first game but the players’ morale remains high and we will be aiming at a win against Kings tomorrow,” a Quetta Gladiators official told ‘The News’.

Gladiators conducted their training session here at National Stadium on Friday.

Asked whether any changes would be made to the team which lost the opener against Multan, the official said it was yet to be discussed. “We will sit and discuss what should be done,” the official said.

Jayson Roy was the top scorer in Quetta’s 110 against Multan with tail-ender Hasnain the second best with 22. Mohammad Hafeez scored 18.

Meanwhile, it will be a more crucial game for Karachi Kings.

Kings were unlucky to miss a bright start to the season when they were beaten by Peshawar Zalmi by just two runs in their opener on February 14 in front of a capacity crowd.

Set a target of 200, Kings were restricted by Zalmi to 197-5. Skipper Imad Wasim led from the front with 80 not out while Shoaib Malik managed a solid 52.

In their second show, on Thursday, Kings were beaten by Islamabad United by four wickets. The plus point of Kings batting in this innings was Haider Ali’s fine 59, which must have raised his confidence. He is a talented player and if he is in touch it will help Kings in the event.

The big disappointment so far for Kings is that Australia’s Matthew Wade has failed to get going. He is the most expensive player of the event. He has scored 23 and 18 so far. He will need to raise his game. Sharjeel seems in good touch but he will have to convert his fine starts if he is to take Kings out of their misery.

Kings bowling will be led again by Mohammad Amir. The left-arm pacer, who did not look impressive in the first game against Zalmi as he conceded 42 runs in four overs, made a superb comeback in the second show against Islamabad United. He bowled with rhythm and finished with 2-30 in his quota of four overs. Kings fielding was below the standard against United and they will need a huge improvement in this area.

Quetta Gladiators: Martin Guptil, Jason Roy, Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Nawaz, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Nuwan Thushara, Omair bin Yousuf, Qais Ahmed, Will Smeed, Saud Shakeel.

Karachi Kings: Sharjeel Khan, James Vince, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Irfan Khan Niazi, Matthew Wade, Imad Wasim, Andrew Tye, Mohammad Amir, James Fuller, Mohammad Musa, Qasim Akram, Tayyab Tahir, Mohammad Akhlaq, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Umar, Aamer Yamin, Tabraiz Shamsi, Akif Javed, Imran Tahir

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