Karachi Kings take on Islamabad United in the last group stage match of the ongoing Pakistan Super League season in Dubai on Sunday.
While the defending champions won a thriller against Quetta Gladiators on Friday by a run to book their play-off berth, Kumar Sangakkara's men prevailed in a last-over finish yesterday against Lahore Qalandars to keep their hopes alive. While they are tied at six points with their Saturday's opponents, Karachi are ahead when it comes to Net Run Rate and all that they need to do now is to not lose by a big margin, to qualify for the knockout stages.
Chasing 156 against Lahore yesterday, Karachi got off to a steady start with Babar Azam scoring a 42-ball 49 at the top after which all-rounder Kieron Pollard struck two sixes of the last two balls to get them past the line.
Notably, Sangakkara decided to drop Chris Gayle, who has been woeful with only 69 runs in six matches, and went in with former Sri Lankan teammate Mahela Jayawardene, who also scored only 10. It will be interesting to see whether the skipper brings back the West Indies big-hitter, given his big match exploits.
Ravi Bopara and Shoaib Malik have also been inconsistent in the middle order and Karachi will be well served if they step up and deliver on the big night against Islamabad. Spinners Usama Mir and Malik have been giving their skipper the breakthroughs in the middle overs consistently and they will be key to the team's chances today.
On the other hand, Misbah-ul-Haq's men have a chance to top the table and they will be looking to continue the winning momentum as they head into the play-offs for the second consecutive season.
Pakistan: Ten Sports, PTV, Geo Super
Sri Lanka: Ten Sports, CSN
UK: Prime TV
West Indies: Flow TV
Bangladesh: Gazi TV
UAE: OSN Sports
Possible XI: Misbah (c), Billings, Smith, Asif, Haddin (wk), Watson, Imran, Amad, Ajmal, Sami, Irfan
Possible XI: Sangakkara (c & wk), Hasan, Gayle, Babar, Malik, Bopara, Pollard, Wasim, Amir, Sohail, Abrar