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Tuesday May 17, 2022

PSL 2022: Babar Azam says facing Shaheen Afridi is always a ‘thrilling proposition’

A fierce battle between Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars is ready to unfold in PSL 2022

By Web Desk
January 18, 2022
Lahore Qalandars’ Shaheen Shah Afridi (L) and Karachi Kings’ Babar Azam (R) gear up for the seventh edition of the PSL. Photo: file
Lahore Qalandars’ Shaheen Shah Afridi (L) and Karachi Kings’ Babar Azam (R) gear up for the seventh edition of the PSL. Photo: file 

KARACHI: Expressing his views about Shaheen Shah Afridi ahead of a highly-anticipated match between Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars during the upcoming seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Kings’ captain Babar Azam said that facing Shaheen is "always a thrilling proposition" as he asks a lot of questions.

Babar Azam said, “His searing pace, ability to bring the ball back, and guileful variations keep a batter judging. He has a passion to learn and, over the years, has developed this phenomenal ability to adapt to conditions quickly.”

“It will be a tough, but an exciting battle and I look forward to facing Shaheen once again. I am sure, the fans are also eagerly awaiting it,” he added.

On the other hand, Qalandars' pacer Shaheen Afridi said the stylish batter is a difficult opponent who does not allow bowlers to take the game lightly.

"Babar is a tough cookie and his solid technique tests you whenever and wherever you bowl at him. Wearing a soft smile on his face, he will dispatch you to the boundary in every part of the ground and nullify all your plans,” he said.

“The battle with Babar will be an interesting one in front of both Karachi and Lahore crowds. I will be enjoying it for sure and I hope the fans will also have fun watching it,” he added.

The seventh edition of the PSL will present the fans with more such exciting competitions and one of the most thrilling fixtures will be between Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars, read a statement issued by the PCB. 

It is pertinent to mention here that Babar added 1,779 to his tally of 7,471 T20 runs in the last year and was the second-best batter – in terms of runs – behind his Pakistan opening partner Mohammad Rizwan. The right-hander struck two centuries and 18 half-centuries, averaged over 48, and scored his runs at a strike rate of 131.38.

On the other hand, Shaheen was one of the four pacers to take more than 50 T20 wickets in 2021. His thunderbolts added 51 scalps – at 21.50 runs apiece – to his account at a strike rate of 16.4. He leaked 7.82 runs, on average, in 2021 – which is a testimony to his extraordinary control in all phases of the innings, considering how unforgiving this format has been for bowlers.

Babar Azam vs Shaheen Afridi

Babar and Shaheen have faced off seven times in the PSL and the honours have somewhat remained even. Shaheen has bowled 46 deliveries to Babar in which he has gotten him out once – bowled, off-stump knocked over, in the last PSL. Babar has scored 73 against Shaheen, hitting 12 fours.

The two are expected to meet in the powerplay and both boast extraordinary records in the first six overs in an innings in the PSL.

Head to head

When the two sides meet at Karachi’s National Stadium on 30 January and Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on 18 February, Lahore Qalandars will hope to improve their head-to-head against Karachi Kings as the Qalandars have won five of the 13 games (one decided on Super Over) and lost all others.

Squads:

Karachi Kings: Babar Azam (c), Amir Yamin, Chris Jordan, Faisal Akram, Imad Wasim, Joe Clarke, Jordan Thompson, Lewis Gregory, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Nabi, Muhammad Imran, Qasim Akram/Mohammad Taha, Rohail Nazir, Romario Shepherd, Sahibzada Farhan, Sharjeel Khan, Talha Ahsan, Tom Abell/Ian Cockbain and Umaid Asif

Lahore Qalandars: Shaheen Shah Afridi (c), Abdullah Shafiq, Ahmed Daniyal, Akif Javed, Dawid Wiese, Dean Foxcroft, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Harry Brook, Imran Randhawa, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Hafeez, Maaz Khan, Phil Salt/Ben Dunk, Rashid Khan, Samit Patel, Sohail Akhtar, Syed Faridoun, Zaman Khan and Zeeshan Ashraf