Ed Hawkins previews the second semi-final from the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday as the Pakistan Super League hots up...
"Kings are likely to shorten with the flip in their favour. But look to book a bet on them if they come back to the [1.80] in-play"
Karachi Kings v Lahore Qalandars
Tuesday 17 March 14.00
TV: live on Betfair Video
Karachi finished second in the league season but defeat by Quetta Gladiators in their last match left them with a 5-4 record for the season.
They have lost the services of Alex Hales and Mitchell McClenaghan because of the pandemic. Hales will be sorely missed because of four top-bat efforts. McClenaghan, despite his experience advising team-mates, can hardly be described as a huge loss - he played only once.
That's because the Kings bowling group is strong. In terms of economy rate they are second only to Multan Sultans. Mohammad Amir, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim and Chris Jordan are having good campaigns.
Cameron Delport and Chadwick Walton complete a strong top order with Babar Azam and Sharjeel Khan confident that there are runs to come if they go cheaply.
Probable XI Sharjeel, Babar, Delport, Wasim, Iftikhar, Walton, Jordan, Asif, Mir, Amir, Iqbal
Lahore in unchartered territory
Lahore have, for the first time, qualified for the finale. Previously they had finished bottom. They must feel like getting a nosebleed.
Unfortunately, just as they have made it to the top table they have lost one of the players chiefly responsible for their resurgence. Chris Lynn, who smashed a century to down Multan Sultans last time out and book their spot, has gone home. Ben Dunk, Samit Patel and Dane Vilas will try to make up for the loss of firepower.
Their bowling attack is potent. Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi form a dangerous combination. But they're all about wickets rather economy. Lahore's rate is as bad as bottom team Islamabad United and only 0.2 runs superior to Quetta Gladiators who were the most expensive franchise.
Probable XI Fakhar, Sohail, Hafeez, Dunk, Vilas, S Patel, Faizan, Shinwari, Isrshad, Shaeen, Haris Rauf
Could wicket slow?
This is the second semi-final to be played on the same strip on the same day. So it would be wise to assume that runscoring might be as free as in the first set of 40 available overs. Still, the venue has been strong for batting throughout the tournament. The first-innings scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 182-1/187-2/187-2/98-2/198-2/209-1/182-1/164-2/138-2. We wouldn't be as confident of a score first up of 180 or more second time around.
Kings the wager
Karachi Kings are [1.82] with the Qalandars [2.14]. We suspect this is a game too far for the Qalandars, who may find that Karachi's better balance and meaner economy ends their campaign. Lahore seem to have been overrated off the back of that win over Multan, who picked a reserve bowling unit.
Ordinarily, we would be keen to take advantage of that opinion with the toss our comfort rug. But although the toss bias has been heavy in favour of the chaser this tournament, we're interested to see if the wicket is more sluggish this time around batting second. Still, the major factor for the team defending has been dew and that's not going to change anytime soon.
Kings are likely to shorten with the flip in their favour. But look to book a bet on them if they come back to the [1.80] in-play.
Cricket...Only Bettor: how the Multan Sultans are dominating PSL with data
Babar drew another top-bat blank last time out for Karachi against Quetta. The top tournament runscorer has won twice in ten for individual honours. Ordinarily we'd gobble up the 23/10 (Sportsbook) about him topping in this one but we're wary about whether the price is wrong or not. And, to be frank, if we're not sure about it being wrong, then it isn't. On three-year form he has win probability of 28%. Sportsbook reckon he's winning 30% of the time.
One alternative to a Babar blitz is to bet Lahore for most fours. They average 13.8 compared to Karachi's 12.6 per game. Sportsbook go 10/11 the pair. But do bear in mind that Lynn's absence hurts them - he's hit 32 of their fours.
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. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
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Back Karachi batting first in-play [1.82]