Karachi Kings take on strugglers Quetta Gladiators in the 15th match of the ongoing Pakistan Super League season as action resumes in Dubai on Thursday.
While the inaugural season's runners-up are well-placed to make the play-offs this season as well, Kumar Sangakkara's Karachi, who are reeling at the bottom of the table with only two wins from five matches, need nothing less than a win today to ensure they will remain in contention for the next stage as they have only three matches left including today's game.
Karachi, who lost their early-season match against their Thursday's opposition, are in for another tough test as Quetta ended their two-match winless streak with an impressive victory against Lahore Qalandars last week in Sharjah. Despite conceding 200 after sending the opposition in to bat, Sarfraz Ahmed team, led by Kevin Pietersen's 42-ball 82, gunned down the target with an over to spare.
Quetta have a settled batting unit with Ahmed Shehzad at the top and an in-form middle order, consisting the likes of Pietersen, South African import Rilee Rossouw and the skipper Sarfraz. Their bowling unit has also been impressive throughout the tournament except for the last match, which the team would like to view as a temporary blip only.
On the other hand, with time running out, Sangakkara's men need good starts from their big-hitting West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, who has been a big disappointment, scoring only 30 runs from five matches so far. However, after losing three in a row to start the season on a poor note, Karachi have won their last two games to release some pressure.
Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik are getting back to form and last season's top-scorer Ravi Bopara's quickfire 30 in their win against Peshawar Zalmi on Sunday should have boosted their batting unit's confidence.
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: Sarfraz (c & wk), Shafiq, Shahzad, Pietersen, Rossouw, Nawaz, Perera, H Khan, Ali, Mills, Babar
Possible XI: Sangakkara (c & wk), Hasan, Gayle, Babar, Malik, Bopara, Pollard, Wasim, Amir, Sohail, Abrar