Karachi Kings: Can Babar Azam Lead The Kings to a Second Title?

The 2020 champions Karachi Kings are one of the most consistent teams in the Pakistan Super League. Karachi Kings are one of the only two teams to have reached the playoffs in every single PSL season. After four playoffs exits, the Kings finally wore the PSL champions crown in 2020 by defeating arch-rivals Lahore Qalandars in the final. Karachi will be led by Pakistan’s biggest superstar Babar Azam in the PSL 2021.  

Karachi Kings: Pakistan Super League Results with Captains 

2016Shoaib Malik/Ravi BoparaPlayoffs
2017Kumar SangakkaraPlayoffs
2018Imad Wasim/Eoin MorganPlayoffs
2019Imad WasimPlayoffs
2020Imad WasimWinners
2021Imad WasimPlayoffs

Karachi Kings were sold to ARY media group in 2015 and was the most expensive franchise in the tournament. They began their journey under the leadership of Shoaib Malik with Mickey Arthur as the head coach. Karachi kicked off the 2016 season with an easy victory over Lahore Qalandars but then went on to lose six of the next seven games. They finished fourth in the group stage with only four points. However, they crashed out in the Eliminator 1 after a nine-wicket thrashing at the hands of the eventual champions Islamabad United. 

Babar Azam and Kumar Sangakkara joined the Kings for the 2017 edition, with the latter being appointed as the skipper. Azhar Mahmood took charge as the head coach. Karachi brought in the West Indian duo of Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard for the season. The Kings finished third on the points table with four wins and unlike the previous edition, they defeated Islamabad United in the Eliminator 1 by 44 runs. Their campaign ended in Eliminator 2 after losing to Peshawar Zalmi by 24 runs. 

Karachi brought in Shahid Afridi and Tymal Mills ahead of the PSL 2018. They had a very good season, securing second place on the points table with five victories and one no result. But they blew away both the chances in the playoffs. First they took an eight-wicket beating from Islamabad in the Qualifier and then lost by 13 runs in the rain-shortened Eliminator 2. 

In the PSL 2019, Karachi finished fourth in the group stage with five victories to their credit. But they yet again fell to Islamabad United in the playoffs, losing by four wickets in a close match in the Eliminator 1. 

The PSL 2020 turned out to be the most successful season for the Kings. They had brought in the English duo Alex Hales and Chris Jordan while the late Australian legend Dean Jones oversaw as the head coach until his unfortunate demise in September 2020. The Kings claimed second place on the points table with five wins and a no result. The Kings played a thriller with Multan Sultans in the Qualifier, where they came out on top in a super over. Imad Wasim’s men went on to defeat Lahore Qalandars in the final comfortably to win their maiden PSL title. 

The 2021 PSL saw the Kings finish fourth on the points table with five wins and five losses, edging the Qalandars on the basis of superior net run-rate. They couldn’t defend their title as they lost the Eliminator 1 yet again against Peshawar Zalmi by five wickets in a last over thriller. 

Karachi Kings: Squad for the PSL 2022 

Batters: Babar Azam (captain), Joe Clarke (wk), Sharjeel Khan, Ian Cockbain, Rohail Nazir (wk)

All-rounders: Imad Wasim, Lewis Gregory, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Imran, Aamer Yamin, Qasim Akram, Umaid Asif, Tom Lammonby (Supplementary)

Bowlers: Mohammad Amir, Chris Jordan, Mohammad Ilyas, Faisal Akram, Talha Ahsan (Supplementary)

Karachi retained their key players ahead of the season, including the likes of Babar Azam, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Joe Clarke. The franchise handed over the captaincy to the Pakistan skipper Babar Azam for this edition. 

The Kings bolstered the squad with some quality picks in the draft. England international Chris Jordan and all-rounder Lewis Gregory were among the draft favourites. Rohail Nazir and Mohammad Imran are amongst the quality local talents. They had also picked promising England all-rounder Tom Abell but he was ruled out due to an injury. They have roped in Ian Cockbain as the replacement. Romario Shepherd was picked as one of the supplementary players but was replaced with Tom Lammonby. 

Karachi Kings: PSL 2022 Fixtures 

Date & DayFixtureVenueTime (IST)
January 27, 2022, ThursdayKarachi Kings vs Multan SultansNational Stadium, Karachi7:30 PM
January 29, 2022, SaturdayKarachi Kings vs Quetta GladiatorsNational Stadium, Karachi7:30 PM
January 30, 2022, SundayKarachi Kings vs Lahore QalandarsNational Stadium, Karachi7:30 PM
February 4, 2022, FridayKarachi Kings vs Peshawar ZalmiNational Stadium, Karachi7:30 PM
February 6, 2022, SundayKarachi Kings vs Islamabad UnitedNational Stadium, Karachi7:30 PM
February 13, 2022, SundayPeshawar Zalmi vs Karachi KingsGaddafi Stadium, Lahore2:30 PM
February 14, 2022, MondayIslamabad United vs Karachi KingsGaddafi Stadium, Lahore7:30 PM
February 16, 2022, WednesdayMultan Sultans vs Karachi KingsGaddafi Stadium, Lahore7:30 PM
February 18, 2022, FridayLahore Qalandars vs Karachi KingsGaddafi Stadium, Lahore8:30 PM
February 20, 2022, SundayQuetta Gladiators vs Karachi KingsGaddafi Stadium, Lahore2:30 PM

Karachi Kings: Stats 

Batting Stats: 

It is no surprise that Babar Azam leads the batting charts for Karachi Kings. The star batter has amassed 2055 runs from 56 matches at an excellent average of 45 and strike rate of 123. Babar also has the record for most fifties for the franchise, having registered 21 fifties. He also has the top three most runs in a season, the top most being 554 runs in the PSL 2021. Colin Ingram holds the record for highest individual score in an innings, having hammered 127* off 59 against Quetta Gladiators in 2019. 

Bowling Stats: 

Mohammad Amir, who has played for Karachi Kings for six seasons, has the most wickets for the franchise. He has snared 54 wickets from 59 matches at an economy of 7.38. Ravi Bopara has the best bowling figures for Karachi Kings, having claimed 6/16 against Lahore Qalandars in the inaugural edition. The most wickets in a season record belongs to Sohail Khan, who had taken 16 wickets from nine games in 2017. 

Team Stats: 

Karachi Kings have the second largest margin of victory by wickets to their name. They had chased down 151 in 17.1 overs against Lahore Qalandars in the PSL 2020. They are also the only team to have reached the playoffs in all six seasons. 

Karachi Kings: Rivalries 

OpponentMatch PlayedWonLostWin Percentage (%)
Lahore Qalandars138561%
Multan Sultans95271%
Peshawar Zalmi1551033%

Lahore Qalandars 

Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars share the biggest rivalry of the PSL due to the historic, political and cultural dynamics. They’re the biggest cities in the country and have massive fanbases. The clashes between the two sides have often been heated and sometimes turned ugly. 

The two teams have faced each other on 13 occasions in the PSL, with Karachi Kings winning eight and Lahore Qalandars claiming five. The two teams competed in one PSL final, where Karachi Kings came out victorious by five wickets. 

Multan Sultans 

Karachi Kings have their win percentage in the PSL against Multan Sultans. They have battled the Sultans in nine matches, winning five and losing two with two games resulting in no contest. Their win percentage against the Sultans stands at 71%.

Peshawar Zalmi 

Peshawar Zalmi has proven to be a nemesis for Karachi Kings in the PSL. They have time and again been beaten by Peshawar Zalmi, especially in the playoffs. The Kings have faced Peshawar Zalmi in 15 matches, in which they’ve only managed five wins and have lost 10. The win percentage of 33% is Karachi Kings’ worst against any opponent. 

Karachi Kings: Will the new leadership bring another title?

Under Babar Azam’s leadership, Karachi Kings will be eyeing their second PSL title in the 2022 edition. They will kick off their campaign against Multan Sultans in the season opener on January 27. 

The Kings have a very strong squad on paper, with plenty of all-rounders to balance the squad. Their batting unit looks pretty solid and have a couple of world-class bowlers that should take them to another playoff spot.

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