Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars: Preview and Prediction 

It's time for the PSL Clasico to take the stage

The biggest rivalry of the Pakistan Super League is on the cards for its 2023 edition as the defending champions Lahore Qalandars will be up against the Karachi Kings side. It will be the battle between two cities that have a history of competing with each other for the nation’s cricketing supremacy and is also considered the biggest rivalry in PSL history. 

The high-voltage encounter will be the second fixture of the double-header day and will be taking place at the National Stadium of Karachi this Super Sunday. 

The defending champions will return to action after almost a week, having played their last PSL fixture on the season’s opening day. Meanwhile, the Sindh-based franchise was the busiest among the two in the first week and will be making its four appearances in Season 8. 

The Afghan spin-wizard Rashid ‘Miracleman’ Khan remains unavailable for the action and may make his awaited return to the PSL by next week. Abdullah Shafique is likely to strengthen the Lahore batting unit with his presence in the place of the Englishman Liam Dawson who did not come out to bat and also got only one over to bowl in the opening game. The debutant Shai Hope who had a crucial 58-run partnership with Fakhar for the second wicket will continue to keep the wickets in the absence of Sam Billings. 

In a recent turn of events, the news of Mir Hamza’s injury has left the Kings fans heartbroken as the budding Pakistan speedster has been ruled out of the entire season.  The Sindh-based franchise has also announced former Islamabad United pacer Akif Javed as the replacement for the 30-year-old who suffered a finger injury in their opening fixture. 

Hence, the responsibility to lead the Karachi attack will be on the shoulders of Mohammad Amir and Andrew Tye accompanied by the kiwi fast-bowling all-rounder James Fuller. 

What have they done so far?

The Qalandars featured in the season-opener where they somehow managed to edge past the Punjab counterparts Multan Sultans. While defending the total of 175 at Multan Cricket Stadium, Lahore conceded an opening partnership of 100 runs within 12 overs and was forced to backfoot by the Janoobis. However, the Lahori bowling unit staged a quick turnaround in the death overs and registered a thrilling 1-wicket triumph to kick-start their title-defense campaign. 

The Kings Squad determined to make a thumping comeback

The Kings Squad determined to make a thumping comeback 

The second match-day of the PSL 8 also turned out to be a thrilling contest where the Blue and Red outfit ended up on the losing side by a minimal deficit of just 2 runs. The post-Babar era for the Kings commenced with the former poster boy of Karachi returning to the National Stadium as opposition captain. A defeat in the opening game at the hands of Peshawar Zalmi was followed by another losing outcome as they were crushed by the inaugural champions Islamabad United on Thursday. 

Head to Head record 

The two of the biggest Pakistani cities are competing with each other in every field whether it’s sports or politics or economics or cultural heritage ever since the formation of this nation. Hence, the classic rivalry culture was also introduced to the cricketing battlefield by the capital cities of Sindh and Punjab provinces when the foundation stone for the nation’s top-flight T20 competition was laid. 

The debut PSL fixture of both of these franchises was also against each other when they squared off in the second match of the inaugural PSL edition in 2016. Since then, the PSL universe has witnessed this rivalry taking place on 15 occasions and its current head-to-head record currently stands in the favor of Karachi by 9-6. 

The most recent chapter of this rivalry was also conquested by the Karachi Blues who registered their only triumph of the season that too against the eventual champions. It was a bowling-dominated saga where two Qalandars Rashid Khan (4-17) & Zaman Khan (4-16) along with Mir Hamza (4-27) from the Kings’ camp registered four-wicket bowling figures. 

The historic venue of National Stadium has hosted four Karachi-Lahore battles to date in which the team has managed to emerge victorious twice while the other two encounters went in the favor of the visitors. Lahore registered a thumping six-wicket victory over the arch-rivals in their first face-off of the previous season staged at National Stadium where a fabulous century from the Qalandars’ all-time leading run-scorer Fakhar Zaman starred in the successful run-chase.  

Key Players

Imad Wasim: The 34-year-old all-rounder has been performing exceptionally well since being reinstated as the Karachi captain. He played a marvellous knock against Peshawar Zalmi and kept the hopes of the Kings chasing the humongous target of 200 until his departure on an individual score of 80 in 47 balls. 

Imad also had the best economy rate in the following game against Islamabad United where he picked a solitary wicket while only giving away 19 runs in 4 overs. 

Zaman Khan: When the Qalandars had to defend 15 off the last over against Multan, it was Zaman who stepped up and took his team toward the victory lap. The 21-year-old right-arm speedster has bagged a tally of five wickets from the last two games against Karachi including magical figures of 4/16 in the most recent face-off. 

The savior of Lahore

The savior of Lahore 

With the kind of purple patch, he is currently having, Lahore’s pace battery looks supreme in the presence of Khan along with  Shaheen and Rauf. 

Predicted Playing XIs

Karachi Kings: James Vince, Sharjeel Khan, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Matthew Wade (wk), Imad Wasim ©, Irfan Khan, James Fuller, Andrew Tye, Muhammad Musa, Mohammad Amir

Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Shai Hope (wk), Mirza Tahir Baig, Kamran Ghulam, Hussain Talat, Sikandar Raza, David Wiese, Liam Dawson, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi ©, Zaman Khan


It seems to be quite difficult for the Kings to stage a turnaround against their arch-rivals due to their tight schedule for the initial phase and a forgettable start to the 2023 campaign. On the other hand, the Qalandars will be returning to the battlefield refreshed after taking a week’s rest and also has no injury concerns at the moment. 

Despite the head-to-head and home-ground advantage belonging to Karachi Kings, the defending champions surely have brighter chances to win this contest.