“It ain’t much but it’s honest work”
This popular meme line I feel define Karachi’s PSL performance over these 4 years. They haven’t been successful like the top three, neither have they been as poor as Multan or as horrendous as Lahore. Yet it is not good enough for the richest franchise (at the time). In most games, they followed the Islamabad United strategy and packed their batting line up with 4 international picks. Add Babar Azam to mix and it’s a strong batting line up. Three batsmen (Ingram, Livingstone, and Babar) scored over 320 runs. But this strategy made their bowling weak. They struggled throughout the tournament with at least 2 of their 5 bowlers. Initially, the batting too struggled. Yet, eventually at the crunch moments, it was the bowlers who failed Karachi fell at a familiar hurdle.
The one who out performed all
Colin Ingram, who else. The match-winning hundred showcased his class. It was innings of excellence and skill. Unlike most T20 centuries it wasn’t fraught with risk and crazy shots. Averaging almost 35 and scoring at a strike rate of 165, makes for pretty reading. If he had more support in a few games and the bowling had backed them up, Karachi’s results might have been different.
The one breakthrough star
Mohammad Hasnain was picked for the Pakistan side, but Umer Khan was desperately unlucky not given a chance. His list of victims would make a World T20 11. His guile, understanding of the game, and just the pure skill as a left arm bowler was just so pleasing. Yasir Shah’s poor display further has made the snub all the more painful. He could be thrown at the deep end, in the World Cup. One wouldn’t put it past Pakistani selectors.
The one who revived his career
Iftikhar Ahmed has played international games for Pakistan, without much success. He hasn’t looked troubled but hasn’t stayed in enough to show his skills. Perhaps, it pointed towards his temperament or lack that despite scoring tons of runs at the domestic level, he fails in international matches. His previous performances in PSL also left a lot to be desired. However, this time around he finally showed in a couple of innings, why he is considered to so highly by many. Having stayed a while, he showed his power game as well Awais Zia and Ravi Bopara were given 2 games each before Iftikhar was tried. Perhaps that was a mistake on part of Karachi’s management. The right-hander has to be relentless now. Another dip in performance might end his chances of playing for Pakistan again. Post World Cup there will be spots in the middle order.
The one(s) who lead
Imad Wasim was a bowler, who batted a bit or at least a bowling all-rounder. In the past few months, we have seen a significant improvement in his batting. He now has more shots in the locker and is more consistent. Yet his bowling has stagnated. On helpful wickets, he is a handy bowler who can stop runs. But wickets mostly alluded him unless batsmen give it to him. That had an impact on his captaincy too. Now in his 2nd season as captain, Imad showed better control but was let down by his bowlers. Something to fix in the draft.