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PSL 6: Formidable Kings up against challenging Islamabad for early-season bragging rights clash

The Karachi Kings started their season in a brilliant fashion humiliating Quetta Gladiators by seven wickets with more than 37 balls remaining. In their second game, they will be up against an Islamabad United side which proved Pundits wrong to win a game from being seven wickets down and still needing 34 runs off the last four overs. 

In this game, the two teams, one supremely talented on paper and one gritty to the core will battle it out for early-season bragging rights. This game is also interesting in the sense that Babar Azam, the current skipper of the Pakistan national t20 side will be up against a probable contender for that post in Shadab Khan, the skipper of Islamabad United. 

Kings look to continue the winning momentum

Babar, the prominent stars of Kings hasn’t been in a good nick for quite some time. He failed big time against South Africa in both the limited-overs as well as the Tests, not being able to score even a single hundred in seven innings.  Apart from his form, the team looks impeccable with both bowlers and batsmen firing in tandem. 

Sharjeel Khan is another concern. But looking at his form in the domestic circuit off late, sooner or later he will be the vintage Sharjeel who takes the bowlers to cleaners with the sword in his hand. All eyes would also be on all-rounder Arshad Iqbal who was supremely good with the ball, picking three wickets in the lat game. 

United to go for course correction in batting

Hussain Talat, Asif Ali and Phil Salt, the batsmen who are looked up to by their team to give them a quick and formidable start. Alex Hales was still good and was done by a quick flipper Shahid Afridi. But it is these batsmen along with skipper Shadab himself who need to get going if United are to challenge the might of the Karachi team. 

Lewis Gregory is a big plus point for the United, being effective both the bat and ball. He needs to bat a bit up the order to be able to fully utilise the deliveries. Apart from their batting, Islamabad also needs to give more overs to Zafar Gohar if they are playing him as a bowling all-rounder. The left-arm spinner bowled only a single over in the last game. 

Karachi Kings vs Islamabad United: Match Details

Match Number- 06

Venue- National Stadium, Karachi

Date and Time: 24th February, 07:30 pm IST, 07:00 pm Local, 02:00 pm IST

Broadcast and Live Stream: Sony Ten and Sony LIV

Pitch Report

In the last five games, three different pitches have been used and all of them have been true wickets, offering plenty of runs to the batsmen if they are able to time the ball, as was exemplified by Mohammad Hafeez in the Quetta vs Lahore match. If bowlers are able to pitch the ball in the right areas, they too are getting the purchase off the wicket. This match would most likely have a new pitch as well. But it would also most likely be a true wicket, a feature of the National Stadium at Karachi. 

Weather and Toss

The Karachi weather seems to have no surprises for guessing as clear skies will be the order of the day. Just like clear skies, dew will also remain a constant forcing skippers to take the field after winning the toss. 

Probable XIs

Karachi Kings

Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Joe Clarke (wk), Colin Ingram, Mohammad Nabi, Daniel Christian, Imad Wasim (c), Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Waqas Maqsood, Arshad Iqbal

Islamabad United

Alex Hales, Philip Salt (wk), Shadab Khan (c), Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Lewis Gregory, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Wasim Jr

Dream XI / Fantasy XI

Alex Hales (vc), Babar Azam (c), Joe Clarke (wk), Asif Ali, Mohammad Nabi, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal, Mohammad Amir, Waqas Maqsood

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The Hundred: A look at the complete squad of competing teams

The Hundred, one of the most exciting upcoming short-format leagues of cricket has been finally completed. The likes of Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran and Jhye Richardson have been picked by various teams. Most of the teams except Birmingham Phoenix and Manchester Originals had their squads filled. So most of the buys were done by these two teams in the player draft that took place on 22nd February. Each team can have a maximum of 15 players with a maximum of three foreign imports permitted for each team. Till now, not all players' name picked in the draft has been released. The Hundred will keep on updating the players' list throughout the day. The start of 'The Hundred' is scheduled for 21st July when the women's teams of Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals will take on each other at Kia Oval. "The men get going a day later," confirmed The Hundred website. Here is a look at the Men’s Squad of various teams as of now. Northern Superchargers Ben Stokes, Aaron Finch, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Chris Lynn, Adil Rashid, Adam Lyth, David Willey, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Brydon Carse, John Simpson, Olly Stone, Matty Potts, Matthew Fisher, Harry Brook, Callum Parkinson Birmingham Phoenix Moeen Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Henry Brookes, Pat Brown, Chris Cooke, Tom Helm, Adam Hose, Benny Howel, Liam Livingstone, Dominic Sibley, Chris Woakes, Adam Zampa London Spirit Eoin Morgan, Mohammad Amir, Mason Crane, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Jade Dernbach, Dan Lawrence, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Nabi, Luis Reece, Adam Rossington, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Mark Wood Manchester Originals Colin Ackerman, Jos Buttler, Joe Clarke, Steven Finn, Richard Gleeson, Harry Gurney, Tom Hartley, Shadab Khan, Tom Lammonby, Wayne Madsen, Jamie Overton, Matt Parkinson, Nicholas Pooran, Kagiso Rbada, Phil Salt Oval Invincibles Sam Billings, Alex Blake, Rory Burns, SamCurran, Tom Curran, Laurie Evans, Will Jacks, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sunil Narine, Jason Roy, Nathan Sowter, Reece Topley Southern Brave Jofra Archer, Alex Davies, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Craig Overton, Delray Rawlins, Andre Russell, Marcus Stoinis, James Vince, Max Waller, Ross Whiteley Trent Rockets Lewis Gregory, Matthew Carter, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Cox, Alex Hales, Rashid Khan, Dawid Malan, Tom Moores, Steven Mullaney, Joe Root, D’Arcy Short, Luke Wood, Luke Wright Welsh Fire Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Tom Banton, Qais Ahmed, Josh Cobb, Ian Cockbain, Matthew Critchley, Ben Duckett, Rayan Higgins, David Lloyd, David Payne, Liam Plunkett, Kieron Pollard, Ollie Pope, Jhye Richardson


Ben Stokes flags 'dangerous' pink ball behaviour under lights

As the Day-Night Test between India and England approaches, the pink ball’s behaviour, especially during the twilight period has come under close scrutiny. There has only been one Day-Night Test on Indian soil when Bangladesh toured India back in 2019. The players were visibly troubled by the nature of the ball and as many as four batsmen from Bangladesh were hit on the head. Two were later forced to be substituted for showing signs of concussion. Fielders too faced the problems of visibility and were found late while attempting to catch the balls standing in slips or other close positions. Two years later, the script for the pink ball Test looks the same. England all-rounder Ben Stokes recently warned in a Talksport podcast that the tourist camp had to call off a net session owing to the weird behaviour of the pink cherry. He further stated that when the trio of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Jofra Archer started extracting extra bounce and pace under the lights, conditions became dangerous and England were forced to abandon ship to protect their batsmen. "Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Jofra Archer have been licking their lips, I can tell you. It's a completely different game,” Stokes was quoted as saying by talkSPORT. "It was funny in training yesterday when the lights came on, the nets actually got really dangerous. The bowlers had to stop bowling in the nets because we were actually worried that some of the batters were going to get injured because the ball started jumping off a length and a few guys actually got hit.” "We had to take the bowlers out into the middle to finish their spells. Whether that's going to be similar in the middle we're not sure. But you can tell the difference when bowling with a red ball in the normal times you see Tests played to bowling with a pink ball when the lights are on." If the words of Stokes are anything to go by, batsmen on both sides will have their task cut out against a ball that is difficult to spot in the final session and will probably move more due to a pronounced seam. To add to the complexity of visibility of the pink ball, the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad does not possess tall light-towers instead it has circular LED lights around the perimeter of the rooftop. It may alter the visibility of the ball when it goes up high in the air, and catching might be tricky in the Day-Night affair. India’s number three in Tests, Cheteshwar Pujara, had raised similar concerns after playing in the maiden Day-Night Test against Bangladesh in 2019. He had said that players walking out to bat in the second and the third session can face problems finding the pink ball that moves around a lot more than the red ball under lights. “You have to concentrate a little extra and spend a little bit more time at the crease to get used to it. When it comes to red ball, visibility isn’t an issue at all during the day. But with pink ball under lights, when you walk in to bat during the second or the third session, visibility can be a bit of a problem as you are sitting in the dressing room and suddenly you are walking in under lights. It swings a bit more. So you have to spend a little more time at the crease, try to get used to that light and then maybe you can start playing your shots,” Pujara had said to The Indian Express. England have the experience of playing in three Day-Night Test while India have played only two with the pink ball. India have won a game against Bangladesh while another match ended in a humiliation of being bowled out for their lowest score in Tests (36). England, on the other hand, have played three Day-Night Tests and have gone on to lose two of them.


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The Pakistan Super League has already seen its fair share of drama but none bigger than the tiff going on between former Pakistan captains Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfaraz Ahmed. After the infamous banter on Twitter not long ago, the duo was involved in another altercation during the PSL group clash between Quetta Gladiators and the Lahore Qalandars. After the conclusion of the match, the players were seen shaking hands with each other but Sarfaraz refused to share pleasantries creating a fresh controversy. On the back of a good knock from Sarfaraz Ahmed of 40 of 33 deliveries, the Gladiators posted a decent score on the board. However, they were blown away by two special knocks from Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez. While Fakhar smashed 82 in 52 deliveries while Hafeez chipped in with a whirlwind 73 0f just 33 deliveries. Recently the duo had a heated exchange on Twitter. Hafeez had taken to his Twitter handle and congratulated Mohammad Rizwan on his match-winning performances against South Africa. "Congratulations @iMRizwanPak on scoring T20. U r a Star shining star Glowing star Wonder how long u need to prove that u r NO1 wicketkeeper/Batsman in Pakistan in all formats of the game. Just asking,” wrote Hafeez. Sarfaraz who is no more the first choice wicket-keeper batsman for Pakistan reacted to the post and wrote, “Hafeez bhai Sb, whoever has played for Pakistan from Imtiaz Ahmed, Wasim Bari, Tasleem Arif to Saleem Yousuf and from Moin Khan, Rashid Latif to Kamran Akmal and even Rizwan right now has always been number ONE for the country and have been respected accordingly." He further added that a senior player like Hafeez should always look to spread positivity besides mentioning that they are all behind Rizwan.