Ed Hawkins reckons Karachi Kings are in trouble against Islamabad in the Pakistan Super League in Abu Dhabi on Monday...
"The 4/1 is chunky in the extreme about an out-and-out wicket-taker with no fear of getting hit..."
Islamabad United v Karachi Kings
Monday 14 June 17.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
United they stand
Islamabad United are top of the table on net run rate after a fine win against tournament favourites Lahore Qalandars. The 27-run victory looked comfortable enough but it was anything but.
They got off the canvas twice to complete a memorable success after batting first. And they were deep in the mire at 20 for five with Lahore running rampant. Yet Asif Ali, something of a forgotten man in the Pakistan hitting circle, reminded everyone how destructive he can be with 75 from 43. Iftikhar Ahmed, another who hasn't made the most of his natural talent for the national side, was also in on the action.
The defence did not start well. Lahore were cruising at 55 for no loss in the sixth and 86 for two in the 11th. Enter Muhammad Musa. Musa ripped out Mohammad Hafeez, Ben Dunk and Fakhar Zaman in the space of eight balls. Lahore could not recover.
United have also been boosted by the return of Hasan Ali. The pacer had pulled out for personal reasons but has decided to remain with the squad. Faheem Ashraf remains sidelined with injury.
Probable XI: Khawaja, Munro, Nazir, Talat, Shadab, Iftikhar, Asif, Hasan, Musa, Wasim, Fawad
The Karachi Kings are in a spot of bother. Aiming to become the first team to defend a title they are in grave danger of missing out on a top two finish. And they could even fail to qualify altogether.
Multan Sultans' resurgence (two wins from) two means they are now level on points with Kings in fourth. Defeat for Kings in their opener since restart means nerves could well be a factor.
That came against Sultans. And in a baffling manner, too. Chasing 177 a set Babar Azam (85 not out) could not get them home. They've also mucked up their recruitment bringing in Martin Guptill to bat at number three.
Possible XI: Babar, Sharjeel, Guptill, Zadran, Walton, Perera, Imad Wasim, Qasim, Waqas, Amir, Arshad
The first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second)at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium so far read: 166-2/197-1/133-2/170-1/176-1/143-2. In time a score of 170 or more could well prove to be the magic number. We're keeping an eye on the impact of dew in the later matches. It could well be that ball gets wetter for the later matches, particularly as Covid protocols may prevent the outfield from being sprayed. This was one of the theories as to why the chasers dominated so in the first leg in Karachi. Sportsbook's evens that both teams score 160 or more has appeal. Or more than 160 should be within reach on first-innings runs.
Take on the holders
We are against Karachi on the outright on the basis that they are a completely different team to the one that looked so strong on their home ground. And we're not impressed by odds of 1.794/5 for this one. There's nowt wrong with taking the 2.206/5 about Islamabad now.
United, who have won five of the last seven on the head-to-head, have been impressive with the bat at the top, middle and lower-order. Remember they thrashed Quetta by 10 wickets with 10 overs to spare as Colin Munro found his form. Kings have not been tight with the ball in this edition so there is little to justify those short odds, particularly as Babar batting for the whole quota couldn't get them up in a chase.
Babar has been price-boosted to 17/10 with Sportsbook for top Karachi bat. As the top-rated batter on the most reliable lists, it is value. He is 5/2 for top match batsman and 10/11 for 32.5 runs or more. He has passed that mark nine times in his 16 knocks this year. Sharjeel Khan, Babar's opening partner, could be popular at 10/3 for honours. He smashed a century against United in the last meeting. On win rate the price is bang on.
Munro is 16/5 to top for United with Asif at 14s. It could be worth promoting Asif to bat at five in place of Shadab Khan who is batting too high. One wager we do like is the 4/1 about Waqas Maqsood taking most wickets for Kings. The 4/1 is chunky in the extreme about an out-and-out wicket-taker with no fear of getting hit.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l