Islamabad United vs Karachi Kings PSL 2021, 22nd match
Shadab Khan’s Islamabad United will be keen to continue their winning momentum when they take on Imad Wasim’s Karachi Kings in a high-profile showdown at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.
After suffering from close defeat against Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United brought their A-game to the table and registered a 10-wicket win over Quetta Gladiators. With this result, Islamabad United have now collected eight points from six matches played in the tournament.
On the other hand, Karachi Kings have dropped to the third position in the league table after their defeat against Multan Sultans. The defending champions looked off-color in their first outing against Multan and will be looking to make a strong comeback against Islamabad United.
A win against Karachi Kings will take Islamabad one step closer to qualifying for the playoffs of the competition.
Islamabad United, boosted by a 10-wicket hammering of Quetta Gladiators, will be keen to continue their winning streak. However, the task is easier said than done as Karachi will certainly make a strong comeback in this contest.
The opening pair of Usman Khuwaja and Colin Munro toyed with Quetta Gladiators bowling the other day and will look to lay down a decent foundation for Islamabad United against a varied Karachi bowling attack.
Islamabad United batting appears to be top-heavy and will be reliant on the performances of Australian opener Usman Khuwaja and New Zealand maestro Colin Munro.
Their main issue has been a lack of runs from the middle-order and it remains to be seen if the team has what it takes to bounce back in case Khuwaja and Munro perish early in the Powerplay overs.
Islamabad United bowling has done the job so far with Hasan Ali being impressive. The inclusion of Muhammad Musa worked wonders for United in the previous game. Akif Javed and Mohammad Wasim Jr. also bowled well against Quetta Gladiators.
Reigning Champions will have to make significant improvements to get back to winning ways in the competition.
Despite his repeated failures with the bat, explosive opener Sharjeel Khan will be keen to make a strong statement with the bat. His partner, Babar Azam, has shown imperious form with the bat.
In the previous fixture, Babar Azam delivered an excellent innings for Karachi in a losing cause. With wickets falling at the other end, Azam anchored the whole innings for Karachi and smashed a brilliant 85 not out off 63 balls with the help of five boundaries and four sixes. He found adequate support in West Indies wicket-keeper Chadwick Walton, who chipped in with 35 runs off 23 balls.
For this game, the onus will be on in-form opener Babar Azam, wicket-keeper Chadwick Walton, and experienced batsman Martin Guptill to deliver the bulk of the runs.
The likes of Najibullah Zadran, Thisara Perera, and Imad Wasim will be given the task of producing quick runs in the last five overs of the innings.
In the bowling department, the side will be relying on the pace trio of Waqas Maqsood, Mohammad Amir, and Arshad Iqbal to pick up wickets with the new-ball.
Due to hot and humid weather, the wicket prepared at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium will be on the slower side in the first half of the innings. The batsmen will have to dig deep and work hard for their runs on this surface.
Players in form
Swashbuckling opener Colin Munro is an accomplished player in the T20 format. After blistering 90 against Quetta, the left-hander will be keen to continue his rich vein of form with the bat against Karachi Kings.
Given their head-to-head record in the Pakistan Super League, Islamabad United have dominated the proceedings with nine victories. On the other hand, Karachi Kings have managed to come out on top on six occasions.
In their previous five meetings between the two teams, Islamabad United managed to come out on top on three occasions.
Based on recent performances, Islamabad United will start as slight favorites to win their game against Karachi Kings. With bowlers delivering back-to-back excellent performances and the opening duo of Usman Khuwaja and Colin Munro finding form with the bat, United certainly will dominate the proceedings in this contest.
On the other hand, bowlers will have to raise their game with the ball if Kings aim to overcome United in this fixture.
Expect Islamabad United to edge out Karachi Kings in a high-octane clash.