Arguably the easiest assignment in this year’s PSL is a match against the hapless and listless Quetta Gladiators, who have won just twice all season. Fortunately for Karachi, their second fixture against Quetta comes at the best possible time when they need the two points badly to put themselves in the best position to qualify for the playoffs.
Of the four teams fighting for the three playoffs berths, Karachi also has the worst run rate, which means that they might also want to score a big win over Quetta. They will find comfort in the fact that they had done just that when the two teams had met for the first time in PSL 2021 before the Covid break back in February.
Then, the Quetta batting line-up had crumbled for just 121 – something that has since become the main theme of their disastrous campaign. Arshad Iqbal was the star of the show at the time for Karachi, with him finishing with figures of 3-16 on his way to a player-of-the-match performance. The 20-year-old pacer has been missing in recent Karachi matches.
The less said about the Gladiators’ 2021 campaign the better it would be. The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side has suffered a dramatic fall since capturing the title in 2019. They finished second-last in their title defence year of 2020 and are now set to finish last this year, regardless of whether they beat Karachi or not.
If you compare this Quetta side to the one that was the hallmark of consistency in PSL, you will find that their failure to replace the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Rossouw, Shane Watson, Jason Roy and even Ahmed Shehzad has contributed immensely to their downfall.
As ESPN noted this week, Quetta have also been guilty of stockpiling express pacers – a strategy that has backfired. Too much of a good thing turned out to be bad in this particular instance.
Against Karachi, Quetta will attempt to find a consolation, with an eye on off-season overhaul, which should ideally begin with captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has clearly lost his mojo but his bond with franchise owner Nadeem Omar means that inertia might just keep him in the job.