Azam Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Quetta Gladiators, the defending champions of the PSL, found themselves in all sorts of troubles in their opening match against the Islamabad United. But the team, captained by Sarfaraz Ahmed, managed to get over the line by three wickets to register first points in the tournament. They are next scheduled to lock horns with the Peshawar Zalmi at the iconic National Stadium in Karachi.

On head-to-head, the Gladiators have an 8-5 lead over their opponent. In Karachi, the Gladiators have beaten the Zalmi on both occasions. In fact, the Gladiators have edged out the Zalmi in their last four matches. Meanwhile, the Daren Sammy-led Zalmi didn’t get off to the best of starts. They lost to the Karachi Kings by 10 runs after failing to chase down 202. Time for them to come back.

Pitch and Conditions

The pitch at the National Stadium has turned out to be a belter thus far. Bowlers aren’t going to have it easy on the batting paradise. Changes in pace will hold the key. Chasing should be the way forward after what panned out in the first couple of matches. There are no chances of rain and the conditions will be hazy. The temperature will be around 30 degrees with the humidity in the 10s.

Team Combination

Peshawar Zalmi

The Zalmi bowling came under the pump on Friday. Hasan Ali, Shoaib Malik and Liam Dawson went in excess of 11 rpo. Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Mohsin also leaked runs at an economy above eight. Tom Banton promised on PSL debut, but fell prey to Chris Jordan through the DRS.

Kamran Akmal threatened with a 43 before Cameron Delport castled him. Liam Livingstone played a handy knock of 54 off 29 and may get promoted higher up the order. Malik floundered with the bat as well apart from his expensive figures with the ball. Daren Sammy is in pretty good stead as well.

Probable XI

Tom Banton, Kamran Akmal (wk), Liam Livingstone, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Daren Sammy (C), Liam Dawson, Mohammad Mohsin, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali

Quetta Gladiators

The Gladiators need to sort out their top order woes. Jason Roy, Shane Watson and Ahmed Shehzad flattered to deceive last time around. It was the contribution from the middle and lower order that got them home. Azam Khan. Moin Khan’s son, scored a 33-ball 59 and turned to be a big positive.

Mohammad Nawaz and Ben Cutting looked in ominous touch as well. Both were also mightily effective with the ball, picking four wickets. Mohammad Hasnain got his career-best figures with a four-wicket haul. Leg-spinner Fawad needs to make amends though after going for 43 in four overs.

Probable XI

Jason Roy, Shane Watson, Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK), Azam Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Ben Cutting, Sohail Khan, Abdul Nasir, Fawad Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain

Probable Top Performers

Tom Banton– Peshawar Zalmi | Ahmed Shehzad – Quetta Gladiators

Broadcast Details

TV: D Sport

Live Streaming – Cricket GateWay

Match Timings – 14:30 IST; 14:00 local; 09:00 GMT

The prediction is for the team, batting second to win the match.