Karachi Kings v Islamabad United: Will Faheem be the machine in PSL clash?

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The Pakistan Super League has got the green light to go ahead and Ed Hawkins has all the trends and data to make sense of the action from Karachi on Saturday, streamed on Betfair Live Video...

"It shouldn’t be sniffed at, though. Lahore had hammered Karachi only on the Monday with the Kings failing to defend 187. Each of Karachi’s last three wins have all come in a chase"

Karachi Kings v Islamabad United
Saturday 14 March 14:00
Live on Betfair Video

Hales flies home

Karachi Kings are well-placed for a top-four slot and entry into the semi-finals after the Pakistan Cricket Board ditched the modern convoluted play-off format for an old-fashioned last-four ding-dong.

Last time out they trounced Lahore Qalandars to move within three points of the leaders Multan Sultans. Their ten-wicket dismantling of a Lahore side with a reputation (justified) for insipid displays was fired by miserly spells from Chris Jordan and fellow pacer Arshad Iqbal. Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam then made light work of the target, getting home with 17 balls to spare.

It shouldn't be sniffed at, though. Lahore had hammered Karachi only on the Monday with the Kings failing to defend 187. Each of Karachi's last three wins have all come in a chase.

The Kings are likely to be depleted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Alex Hales is flying home so Cameron Delport could slot in at No 3.

Possible XI Sharjeel, Babar, Delport, Umaid, Iftikhar, Walton, Imad, Jordan, Amir, Usama, Arshad.

United unlucky at toss

Islamabad have lost four of their last five. Two of their three wins came in their second and third matches. That sequence can be explained by the tournament-wide toss bias. It's a chasing competition and Islamabad have only done so twice, both resulting in wins.

They are likely to be without Dawid Malan, who was expected to confirm he was leaving the tournament. Islamabad also cancelled their training session on the eve of the match.

It's not as big a blow as one would expect. Malan had not played in the last four matches as United prefer the overseas batting combo of Munro-Ronchoi-Ingram. Dale Steyn remains with the squad at the moment. Faheem Ashraf is out of favour after some expensive spells.

Probable XI Ronchi, Munro, Ingram, Shadab, Asif Ali, Rizwan Hussain, Raees, Steyn, Musa, Javed.

Pitch could assist pacers

Karachi's successful chase of 150 against Lahore was the first match at the National Stadium since 23 February. The previous four first-innings scores in this edition (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 156-2/148-2/201-1/168-2.

In the 2019 edition, there were monster scores. More than 200 was busted three times in eight games. Overall there were five scores of more than 170.

Get with the chaser

Poor Islamabad have only won 25% on tosses this season. If they get the chance to decide what to do, they will surely chase even if the Karachi wicket has been good for runmaking.

So far (not including the Sultans-Zalmi clash on Friday), 60.8% of matches in the tournament have been won by the chaser. It would be folly not to factor the flip into your wagering. At present, and we note limited liquidity, [1.80] Karachi doesn't have us jumping for joy. Islamabad are [2.10]. We would expect the prices to flip if the latter chased.

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Faheem worth a risk

Luke Ronchi came into this tournament with a 43.4% win rate on top bat on two-year form. But he has won only twice. Another hot favourite to have a disappointing return is Babar Azam. He has won only twice as well, having started the edition with a 31.8% win rate. Hales has dominated instead, winning four. Perversely, babar is the top runscorer in the tournament.

With Sportsbook Ronchi is 11/4 for honours and Babar 9/4. The former may just about squeeze into value range because of his unbeaten 85 when the sides met previously. Ronchi helped set a target of 184 but it was chased with ease. Babar made a duck, Hales did the damage.

Another disappointment has been United's Faheem. He had a 41.6% win rate on top bowler but has been dropped. Sportsbook go 4/1 he tops in this one. It is worth a nibble as he has still managed two ties in his six games.

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