Quetta Gladiators. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Quetta Gladiators got off to a wonderful start to their campaign in the fifth edition of Pakistan Super League. But, it never looked an easy win for the defending champions due to the collapse of their experienced top order that comprises of Jason Roy, Shane Watson and Ahmed Shehzad.

The trio failed to utilise the opportunity in their campaign opener and got out in cheap. Meanwhile, they got a new emerging star Azam Khan, the right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman, who rescued his team from the early setbacks and help them in chasing the target. The youngster played a responsible knock of 59 runs that helped the defending champions in registering an impressive win.

In the curtain-raiser, Gladiators’ tail showed some impressive show with the bat that played a vital role during the successful chase of Gladiators. In bowling, they got a positive as their young pacer Mohammad Hasnain grabbed a four-wicket haul for his side. He registered amazing bowling figures of 25-4. His form will also play an important role in the upcoming game for his team.

Peshawar Zalmi boasts a strong batting line up that is yet to be tested under the pressure conditions. If they get going then no target is impossible for their side to chase in the shorter format. In the meantime, one thing that can go against them is the absence of a magical bowler in their team.

They have a formidable trio of Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali and Rahat Ali, who are quick and can bowl yorkers quite easily. But, they cannot rely on their pace attack throughout the tournament. If there is a flat wicket during the match then they will surely get exposed in front of the opponent batsmen. So, before anything goes wrong Peshawar Zalmi will have to come out with a solution for the same.

Playing Combination

Quetta Gladiators

Quetta Gladiators have a robust pair of openers with the likes of Shane Watson and Jason Roy, who are just a nightmare for the bowlers on their best days. It was expected that they will pull off an amazing knock in the curtain-raiser but that was not the case. Now, they would be eager to get back into the grooves. There is no doubt that Roy is in very good form with the bat. In his last five T20Is, the England batsman has mustered 253 runs with three fifties.

Gladiators middle order also looks pretty settled that comprises of Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK), Azam Khan. Azam Khan, who was one of the heroes in his sides’ first victory can also contribute well with the bat and ball. Mohammad Hasnain contribution with the ball cannot be ignored, who took a four-wicket haul for his team. However, their bowlers are yet to be tested, who failed to restrict the opponent in the first game of PSL 2020.

Probable XI: Shane Watson, Jason Roy, Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK), Azam Khan, Abdul Nasir/Ahsan Ali, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Sohail Khan, Fawad Ahmed.

Peshawar Zalmi

Peshawar Zalmi boasts a strong and star-studded batting line up that comprises Kamran Akmal, Tom Banton, Shoaib Malik, Haider Ali and Liam Livingstone. Even their tail can also play some mesmerising strokes. They look fully equipped to chase any big total but their positive might turn into their biggest nightmare.

Tom Banton, who is an exciting opener has a history of not being able to control his nerves during the match. In an attempt of scoring runs at a high strike rate, he usually throws his wicket cheaply. Hence, he is expected to work over his weakness otherwise, his team will have to suffer its adverse effects. The same happened in BBL 2019-20 where Brisbane Heat suffered a lot due to his irresponsible batting display.

The biggest positive they have is the presence of Liam Livingstone and Shoaib Malik in the middle-order, who can accelerate according to various situations of the match.  They know when to shift gears during the innings with the bat. For Peshawar Zalmi many things are depended on how Livingstone and Malik perform in this season.

Having a strong batting line up is not enough. One place where they lack is the absence of a star and impactful spinner in their team. They just can’t rely on their pace attack. The track at Gaddafi stadium supports spinners where fast bowlers look quite helpless. In that case, they need to work out over it before getting exposed in front of their opponents.

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

The focus will be on

Liam Livingstone (Peshawar Zalmi)

Liam Livingstone is in red hot form with the bat. He did an impressive job in the recently concluded Big Bash league season for his team. Now, he is expected to ply his traits for Peshawar Zalmi in the fifth edition of the T20 tournament. In BBL 2019-20, he 425 runs in 14 games for Perth Scorchers.

Jason Roy (Quetta Gladiators)

Jason Roy is playing in red-hot form in the shorter format of the game. He has done an impressive job in the recent past with the bat opening for whichever team he has so far played. He has scored 253 runs in his last 5 T20Is at an average of 50.3 with three half-centuries in away conditions. The right-handed opener failed to click good knock with the bat in the first game but that doesn’t make him a bad batter. He can turn the table for his side when he is in full flow.

Head to Head

Matches played – 14 | QUE won– 8  | PES won – 5 | Draw – 1

Stat Attack

4/25– Mohammad Hasnain took four-wicket haul in the season opener against Islamabad United

253 runs –Jason Roy has scored in the last 5 T20Is with three half-centuries.

Broadcast Details

TV – DSport

Live Streaming – Cricketgateway.com

Match Timings – 2:30 pm IST and 9:00 am GMT