Karachi Kings take on Lahore Qalandars in the eighth match of the ongoing second season of Pakistan Super League on Thursday in Sharjah. Kumar Sangakkara's star-studded team has been under-par with both its bowling and batting performances and has lost both its matches so far.
The batting failure of their big-hitting Twenty20 specialist Chris Gayle has hurt them the most. The West Indies opener was dismissed for two runs in Karachi's first match against last season's runners-up Peshawar Zalmi, after which they suffered another seven-wicket loss to Quetta Gladiators on Saturday, in which he scored 10 off 14 balls.
Despite having the likes of Sangakkara, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Kieron Pollard and Ravi Bopara in their team, the absence of pyrotechnics from Gayle has resulted in too much pressure on the middle order. The batting unit has not been able to combine and perform as a unit and the skipper would be expecting their main men to stand up and deliver before the equation becomes too difficult.
On the other hand, Lahore have also not been consistent this season. Brendon McCullum's team lost their first game against Quetta but defeated Islamabad United only to lose their third match to Peshawar on Sunday, in which they were bowled out for meagre 59.
Despite defending only 60, leg-spinner Yasir Shah picked up four wickets conceding only seven runs in his four-over spell but it was not enough as Peshawar scraped home with three wickets in hand.
McCullum and his men will find it difficult to recover from the crushing loss but they have to buckle up and make use of the lack of momentum in the opposition camp to good effect. It will all depend on which of the two batting units steps up today.
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: Sangakkara (c & wk), Hasan, Gayle, Babar, Malik, Bopara, Pollard, Wasim, Amir, Sohail, Abrar
Possible XI: McCullum (c), Roy, Zaman, U Akmal, Rizwan (wk), Elliott, Tanvir, Narine, Bhatti, Yasir, Irfan