Seeing Karachi Kings’ intense failure during the 7th season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 7) was undeniably shocking since the blue-red men have never failed to qualify for the playoffs in the last six years. The mass wonder what went wrong for the Kings since stepping in the current season glimpsed them dwindling even more in every subsequent game.
Kings locked horns with Multan Sultans in the PSL 7 opener and unluckily failed to clutch the first win on their home ground. Starting the journey for the first time under Babar Azam, the team was expected to generate perfect results but rather; the consequences have been too adverse. Azam’s men combated in ten league-stage games and managed to win a single versus Lahore Qalandars in Lahore as if it was an achievement unlocked. At first, other franchises’ fans enjoyed Kings’ downfall but later went on to feel pity for back-to-back defeats.
Babar and co registered some unwanted records during PSL 7, breaking the prior records of Qalandars over the last six years. Kings became the first to lose most consecutive matches (8) in a single HBL PSL season. Not only this, on combining their playoff defeat versus Peshawar Zalmi in 2021, they have an unwanted record of most back-to-back losses (9) in PSL overall. Both of the records earlier belonged to Qalandars, who polished themselves this season to lift up their first-ever trophy under Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Reasons behind Karachi Kings’ intense failure during PSL 7
Karachi’s poor form throughout PSL 7 must have several reasons. Let’s analyze a few to conclude the results:
Too much reliant upon top-order:
Visibly, Kings were excessively reliant upon their top-order, including the likes of Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, and Joe Clarke. Once the players collapsed, the rest of the team shattered too with the bat. Upon heavy reliance on Sharjeel and Babar to build hefty partnerships every time, the rest of the batters were rarely seen doing their jobs.
Middle-order failing abruptly:
Since Kings’ primary reliance had been upon their top-order, the middle-order was reluctant to perform once it was gone. Losing wickets of Azam and Sharjeel meant outrageous pressure on the lineup. Sharjeel already looked struggling with his form, yet, his past contributions were one of the reasons why the entire batting playing had many expectations from him in every subsequent match.
Indeed, Chris Jordan was the only fair pick among overseas cricketers Karachi Kings had this season. But, the pacer turned out to be pretty expensive for the men in red-blue struggling throughout the competition. A lot was expected from Joe Clarke, but the lad had an average season.
With the likes of Ian Cockbain, Tom Abell, Lewis Gregory, and Tom Lammonby, one can clearly compare and contrast the team power with the other five teams owning overseas superstars under them. Also, Mohammad Nabi, whose bowling looks struggling for the past three years, was nowhere near effectiveness as he used to be.
Struggle in powerplay:
Kings usually remained below par during the first six overs. In most of the matches, they were seen losing wickets at regular intervals. Even if they saved the scalps, they rarely passed the benchmark of 30s during the powerplays. Either defending or putting up a target, no tactic worked for the Kings since they only tasted victory once out of ten matches.
Babar failing to hit six:
The reason may sound dull following the fact that Azam ended as the 6th highest run-getter of the PSL 7, but it is kinda legit. Azam could smash only two sixes in 10 games, which is not what a spectator anticipates from an opener. At least in the powerplay, there is required some smash game since there are only two fielders outside the 30-yard circle. Babar, according to experts, had been eying to build up a brand; however, the whole blame can never be on one, trying to spear his side solely since others around him have failed to perform too. Kings, as an entire unit, have failed.
Absence of key players:
Although Amir had not been in red-hot form during the last season, but Karachi Kings badly missed his place. Not having the injured pacer, who is among the top-wicket takers, was indeed a hefty blow to the Azam’s side. Later on, missing Mohammad Ilyas served as another big bang.
Imad Wasim and Jordan Thompson also missed out a few games serving the mandatory quarantine period.
Swapping the captaincy:
Since everything was going smoothly under Imad Wasim with a trophy and the side never failing to qualify for the playoffs in the last six years, the decision to appoint Azam as the skipper came out of nowhere. It might be because the Kings management was too inspired after the Pakistan Cricket Team’s appealing performance in the T20 World Cup under the leadership of Azam, who has not been too old as the all format’s captain.