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Every episode of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL 7) with Karachi Kings (KK) in it has brought nothing but disappointment for the franchise. Babar Azam and his men have seen only defeats in this season that too five in a row. The Kings have made it very difficult for them to qualify for the play-offs. They haven’t been able to make any close calls which means their run rate isn’t very bright and doesn’t offer much hope. But as the saying goes ‘To live without Hope is to Cease to Live’, for them, the light at the end of the tunnel is very dim but there is a light at the end.
Their current position at the points table looks like this
Though very little, the franchise still has an opportunity to be among the final four that will qualify for the playoffs. There can be no debate on the number of matches they need to win now because the team must absolutely win five of their remaining matches. But that alone wouldn’t be enough. Let us take a look at some scenarios that can keep the dreams alive for Babar and co.
Batting or Bowling First
If given the chance to bat first, Karachi Kings will have to win by big margins by scoring big totals and restricting the opposition on smaller totals. Similarly, bowling first, the team must restrict the opposition to a low total and chase the given target in fewer overs. It is too early to talk about the calculations but the bottom line is, Karachi needs to win with big margins.
Improving Net Run Rate NRR
Improving the run rate has become extremely crucial for the Kings now. Because other franchises have at least one win in their bag and Karachi has none so if the points become similar between KK and any other franchise at the fourth position then the fate will be decided based on NRR. But for this scenario to happen, Karachi Kings must have at least four out of five wins for a chance if not 5/5 wins. The team with the higher NRR will be promoted to the qualifiers then.
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What if Karachi Kings lose one more match?
Losing one more match will make it even tougher for the team. However, there would be still a tiny bit of hope. Winning four matches will give them 8 points. Currently, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators are the two franchises with fewer points on the table, both with four points. If either of the two franchises especially Quetta Gladiators being at position four lose all their matches of the Lahore leg it will give Karachi Kings an edge and put them in the final four.
What else can the Kings do?
All of the aforementioned analyses are useless unless the team gets a major revamp. The opening combination, middle order, bowling line-up nothing has worked for them and except if these concerns are addressed, no scenario and no condition can help the team reach any position in the first four.
Karachi Kings begin their Lahore campaign of the PSL taking on Peshawar Zalmi on 13th Feb. The team has plenty of time till then to make the necessary changes if they really want to make a come-back