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Preview of Karachi Kings' 2019 campaign as they look to put past disappointments behind them and win the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League.

By Arsalan Pro (9th February, 2019)

Karachi Kings is renowned for being the most popular franchise and has arguably the largest fan base for any PSL team. However, they haven't lived up to the expectations of their fans in previous and will be looking to change that this time around.

A franchise that has formally been full of superstars, flamboyant athletes and pure entertainers of the T20 format for the first three seasons has now opted for a change in personnel, in the hope that this will bring difference in their fortunes. They have dropped quality players like Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Kumar Sangakarra and Kieron Pollard over the course of their PSL journey, but are yet to taste any success in terms of winning the league.

However, one positive in their campaigns is the improvement in their league position each year; from being the second last in PSL 1 and winning only 2 matches, they became the third-best side in PSL 2 and second-best last year in PSL 3, though they eventually finished third after the playoffs.

One thing that hasn't changed is their captain, who remains Imad Wasim. PSL 2019 will be the first time they will have a skipper that has captained them previously, and under this settled, energetic and inspirational leader, they will be looking to go deep in this tournament. Along with Islamabad United, they are the team that has kept the most players through retentions prior to the draft, which is a good sign of players gelling well with each other and being up to the mark individually.

Another thing that has been reasonably consistent with most teams and also Karachi has been their coaching staff, but what is different is that they have Pakistan's Head Coach Mickey Arthur working with them, which should be pivotal to their success. His experience for the past 3 years with the national team and Karachi Kings will be valuable for players in tough situations.

Having two superstars of Pakistan in Mohammad Amir and Babar Azam, who are also their highest wicket-taker and highest run-scorer respectively, will be good for Karachi and they can expect some star-studded performances from these two along their road to glory.

 
 


Strengths

Starting the innings while batting or bowling will be their strengths without much doubt - KK is the only T20 team in the world to have the top 2 T20I batsmen Babar Azam and Colin Munro opening their batting, which is a scary prospect for any bowler; how well their nature complements each other will be a treat to watch. Along with these two, Colin Ingram at number 3 can provide them with some blazing starts and solid platforms early on during the power-play overs.

The opening bowlers will be equally good, and probably the best in the tournament. Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim are a lethal pair of bowlers who can suck momentum out of any batting order and also strike regular blows with the new ball; how teams negate their effect will be the deciding factor of many encounters during the PSL.


Weaknesses

As starting is their strength, middle overs will be a problem in both departments. A batting order filled with accumulators and no genuine hitters down the order will question the team's ability to finish off innings and chase big targets.

No really good quality spinners to bowl in the middle overs can hurt their run-stopping and wicket-taking ability during this phase, which can prove costly.


Players to watch out for

Colin Munro, who is playing for the first time in PSL, can be the tormentor in chief of many bowling attacks during this competition with his deadly six-hitting ability; if he has a good outing, KK will definitely be in a good position. Rookie Tasmanian speedster Aaron Summers is somewhat of an unknown commodity, but has the ability to rip the hearts out of many batting orders with his 150 kph thunderbolts if he gets a proper chance.


Verdict

Like each year, Karachi are expected to qualify for the playoffs without much trouble, but winning the tournament will be a daunting task for them as they have some glaring weaknesses. However, without the hype they've had in past seasons, this time around they might be the ones who turn out to be the dark horses and actually end up winning PSL 2019.


Squad

Colin Munro, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, Colin IngramImad Wasim ©, Usman Khan Shinwari, Mohammad Rizwan, Ravi BoparaSikandar Raza, Awais Zia, Usama Mir, Aaron Summers, Sohail Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ali ImranAbrar Ahmed, Aamer Yamin, Ben DunkLiam Livingstone, Jaahid Ali, Umer Khan

Discuss!