Karachi: Karachi Kings have won the toss against Multan Sultans in the Qualifier of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 and decided to bowl first at the National Stadium Karachi (NSK).
After an interval of 8 months, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was postponed on March 17, so the event has resumed activities.
The winner of the Qualifier will confirm a berth in the much-anticipated final, to be played on November 17, while the losing team will await the winner of the Eliminator 1 – to be played between Qalandars and Zalmi – in the Eliminator 2, which is scheduled for Sunday evening.
The loser of the Qalandars-Zalmi game will be eliminated. All four teams in the playoffs were joined by the international and local Earth stars, and everyone’s purpose was to lead their teams to glory.
Sultans topped the table at the end of the double-league round-robin group-stage by winning six matches. While two of their matches ended in no-result due to rain, they faced losses in the other two.
Captain Shan Masood occupies the sixth spot in the list for the tournament’s highest run-getters with 253 runs at 31.62 and a strike-rate of 128.42.
Among the bowlers, Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir occupy the fourth and fifth spot having taken 10 wickets each at 15.30 and 18.60 respectively.
Shan is confident his team has the desired firepower to win the tournament.
Shan Masood: “We are very excited to be back. We had a very good run in the group stage. The beauty of the HBL PSL has always been the playoffs as it gives everyone an equal opportunity of winning the prestigious trophy and we are really looking forward to it.
“Obviously playing the Qualifier gives us an added advantage. We have to make sure that we get out of the blocks quickly and hopefully win that first game and go to the final directly. As a squad, we are very happy despite the setbacks, due to Covid-19, as we have lost Mahmudullah and James Vince, while Moeen Ali is on national duty.
“But, we have got quality replacements in Joe Denly, Brendan Taylor and Adam Lyth. Denly has been a super white-ball player for England in the last few years and he has had a good HBL PSL 2018. Brendan Taylor is one of the most experienced white-ball batsmen in world cricket at present and he has played well in the recent series. Adam Lyth is a good attacking opener.
“These additions will help add value to our squad.”
Imad Wasim-led Kings took the second spot by registering five wins out. They lost four matches and their one fixture was washed out.
Kings possess one of the most exciting top-orders in the playoffs with Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam joined by England’s Alex Hales.
The recently appointed all-format Pakistan captain Babar heads the tournament run-getters list with 345 runs in nine innings at 49.28 with the help of three half-centuries.
Among the bowlers, Mohammad Amir is placed at number six with 10 wickets in nine matches at 26.20.
Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim: “We are preparing well and our camp has went well with our overseas players adding great value as always. We have gelled well as a unit; our focus is definitely on winning the Qualifier and qualifying for the final at the first attempt. We can’t control the result but we can give it our best shot.
“I want to also congratulate the management for organising the playoffs in Pakistan in a challenging environment, which is indeed a big effort.
“Karachi is our home ground and we have played very well here, the crowd support really spurs us on and we will miss the crowd yet playing in Karachi has its own unique fun and flavour. The conditions, pitch, atmosphere and the weather suits us and we are very happy to play the playoffs on our home turf.”
Multan Sultans: Zeeshan Ashraf (wk), Adam Lyth (England), Shan Masood (capt), Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Ravi Bopara (England), Khushdil Shah, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Ilyas, Imran Tahir(South Africa), Mohammad Irfan
Karachi Kings: Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Alex Hales (England), Wayne Parnell (South Africa), Chadwick Walton (wk) (West Indies), Imad Wasim (capt), Iftikhar Ahmed, Sherfane Rutherford (West Indies), Mohammad Amir, Arshad Iqbal, Waqas Maqsood