The HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) is well and truly under way with some entertaining cricket over the first weekend. Some close encounters and some high-scoring run chases have had the viewers glued to their tv screens at home.
With that being said, the next clash is between the two most followed teams in the PSL and arguably the two biggest cities of Pakistan, Lahore and Karachi. The Lahore Qalandars and the Karachi Kings face off each other in what one can expect to be a thrilling contest.
There has been a history of close games between these two franchises, with this one not expected to be any different.
The Karachi Kings have kick-started the season brilliantly, bagging a win against a strong Multan Sultans. Despite the close affair, Karachi will take positives from their record opening stand and some great bowling by Mohammad Amir.
The Kings will hope to have a stronger outing this time around with the bowl, considering the already strong batting line-up of Lahore Qalandars boosted by the addition of AB de Villiers.
On the other hand, Lahore Qalandars began their campaign in disappointing fashion after losing to the defending champions, Islamabad United, in the opening game. The Qalandars were off to a great start through Fakhar Zaman, but their late-order hitting was found wanting.
Moreover, Rahat Ali jolted the Islamabad batting line-up with 4 wickets, but the other bowlers went for plenty of runs, making it easy for the two-time champs to win. Bowling would be the major concern for Lahore, as they will be wanting to contain the Karachi Kings batting line-up, that put up the highest stand in the first game.
Players to watch out for:
The Kings made a record partnership for the first wicket in their game against the Sultans, thanks to brilliance from Babar Azam and Liam Livingstone. However, a man who could not get off to a good start was Colin Ingram. The explosive left-hander is coming on the back of a brilliant BBL season to go along with his performances in the PSL last year. All this combined, the South African will be a dangerous player to look out for.
Another player to look out for is another South African, AB de Villiers. The superstar made his PSL debut with a brisk 24 in the opening game against Islamabad United. However, the 34-year-old has been far from his best in the opening innings and the Lahore Qalandars will be hoping the superstar can be at his best to handle a strong Karachi Kings bowling line-up.
Predicted playing XI:
Karachi Kings: 1. Liam Livingstone, 2. Babar Azam, 3. Colin Ingram, 4. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5. Ravi Bopara, 6. Sikander Raza, 7. Imad Wasim (capt), 8. Amir Yamin / Sohail Khan, 9. Mohammad Amir, 10. Umer Khan, 11. Usman Shinwari
Lahore Qalandars: 1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Anton Devcich, 3. Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 4. AB de Villiers, 5. Brendan Taylor (wk), 6. Sohail Akhter, 7. Carlos Brathwaite, 8. Yasir Shah, 9. Haris Rauf, 10. Shaheen Afridi, 11. Rahat Ali
The Karachi Kings will be hoping to continue their winning start to the campaign while the Lahore Qalandars will be desperate to get their season on track. With the star power of AB de Villiers and Fakhar Zaman in the tank, the Qalandars enter the game as the favourites to win.