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PSL 7: Matches 19 (Peshawar Zalmi v Karachi Kings) & 20 (Lahore Qalanders v Quetta Gladiators)

CriViz analyst Rufus Bullough examines Sundays double-header action

Game 19: Peshawar Zalmi v Karachi Kings

It was a familiar start for bottom of the pile team Karachi Kings today, who began the game on the back foot conceding 51 runs in the Powerplay. They dropped three catches and missed a blatant review for caught behind. Before today’s game they had held on to every chance given in the Powerplay, but today those standards eluded them. From their 36 Powerplay overs bowled so far they have taken just four wickets, only Peshawar Zalmi have taken fewer so far in the competition. The single crumb of comfort for Karachi is that they have been economical in the first six, conceding runs at just 8.44 rpo.

Zalmi put on 97 for the first wicket which was their joint fifth highest ever opening stand and their highest since March 2019. On debut, Mohammad Haris struck his first ball in for six and made an enterprising 49 from just 27 balls. Afghanistan southpaw Hazratullah Zazai played an uncharacteristically restrained knock for the Zalmi, and reached his fifty off 41 balls, his second slowest ever, before being dismissed the very next delivery.

Zazai attacked the fast bowlers, scoring 23 off the 12 pace deliveries he faced (strike rate: 192) but was far more restained against the spinners, facing 30 deliveries and scoring just 29 (strike rate: 97). Across his T20 career, Zazai strikes at just 132 against spin and 153 against the fast men, so it was smart match up management from Babar to expose Zazai to as much spin as possible and prevent him running away with it.

Cameo’s from Cutting, Rutherford and Malik propelled Zalmi to a very competitive score of 193/6 – WinViz agreed giving them a 74% chance after the restart.

Babar Azam continued in his quintessentially low risk approach to T20 batting, and notched up yet another fifty in reply, but to tell the truth, Karachi were never in with a sniff. After the Powerplay was done, Karachi were 33/1 with the required run rate already up to 11.50 rpo. Arguably game over for the Kings who are now without a win from their six matches and look destined to prop up this year’s table.

Karachi have had the three lowest Powerplay scores in the tournament and in the first half of the innings in this year’s competition, they have been easily the slowest team in terms of run-rate. Their attacking intent has been there, on par with the fastest scoring sides, but their execution has been poor hence their low run-rate.

Babar appears to be shackled by a lack of faith in his supporting players and it’s adding up to a real mess in the Karachi camp. Coach Peter Moores has a hell of a job on his hands to turn this around going forward. A single win might even represent a success from this position.

Game 20: Lahore Qalanders v Quetta Gladiators

To kick match 20 off, Shaheen did what Shaheen does best. Charging in with the new pill in hand – arms flailing and stumps everywhere. There have been 42 bowlers who have taken the first over of a match on fifty or more occasions. Of those 42, none have a better bowling average than Shaheen’s 27 wickets at an average of 15.55. A special talent who is getting better and better, and he is arguably the best first over bowler in the history of T20 cricket.

By removing Roy and Vince on consecutive deliveries, he catapulted his sides WinViz from 55% after the first ball all the way up to 72% at the end of the first over. That was the second instance of Shaheen taking two wickets in his first over. Both of them have occurred in the last four months.

Quetta never recovered and found themselves floundering at 56-5 at their innings halfway point. Rashid Khan bowled a typically miserly four over spell, going through his repertoire of deliveries and consistently drawing false shots. He finished with figures of 1/13 from his allocation, his second least expensive four over spell in his PSL career

Only Iftikhar Ahmed could muster any meaningful resistance for Quetta who were constantly playing catch up through the back end after the initial onslaught. He dragged his team up to 141-7 on the way to making 52 (39). Exactly 50% of Iftikhar’s runs came through mid-wicket

Fakhar Zaman proceeded to carry on his rich vein of form, on the way to making yet another half century and shepherding his side through to another victory. This was his sixth 50+ score in seven knocks in PSL7. Only nine players have ever passed 400 runs in a PSL season.only Babar Azam’s last two outings in PSL5 & PSL6 have been with a higher batting average.

Lahore eventually strolled home by eight wickets and cemented their second place spot four points ahead of Islamabad in third. A clinical performance masterminded by their two southpaw talismans: Shaheen and Fakhar.

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