After the Lahore Qalandars’ victory over Quetta Gladiators, the points table in the PSL have become a tad cramped up. The Gladiators are placed third after the toss, but things could go downhill for them quickly as Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi are breathing by their necks. The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Gladiators are next set to lock horns with the Zalmi on Thursday, March 5 in Rawalpindi.
In their last two games, the Gladiators couldn’t chase down targets and they will be looking to change the pattern. The Zalmi, on the other hand, are languishing fifth in the table and need a victory to climb up the points table. The team, led by Wahab Riaz, last went down to the Karachi Kings on Monday. In their previous meeting, Kamran Akmal’s century blew the Gladiators away.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch in Rawalpindi has turned out to be a bowler’s nightmare thus far. Three out of the four matches were won by the chasing teams. Scores in excess of even 180 haven’t been on the safe side. Batting second should be the way forward, especially with dew playing a part. There will be chance of rain throughout the days and delays seem inevitable. The temperature will be around 14 degrees.
The Zalmi’s batting has mostly been led by Kamran Akmal, who has 177 runs at a strike-rate of 165.42. Kamran’s opening partner Tom Banton has strained though. Banton has a mere 54 runs in five games at 10.80. Haider Ali has impressed on and all, but needs to be a little more consistent.
Shoaib Malik has found it tough as well, barring his 68. The onus will also be on the likes of Liam Livingstone and Lewis Gregory. Wahab Riaz is their top wicket-taker with five scalps. Gregory and Hasan Ali have four wickets each to their name. Yasir Shah also picked two wickets last time around.
Tom Banton, Kamran Akmal (wk), Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Liam Livingstone, Lewis Gregory, Carlos Brathwaite, Wahab Riaz (C), Hasan Ali, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali
The Gladiators batting has good numbers but it strained in the last match. Jason Roy and Shane Watson are their leading run-scorers and they need to be on top of their game. Azam Khan has churned out a couple of match-winning knocks while chasing and he has to find rhythm as well.
Skipper Sarfaraz has 144 runs to his name. Ben Cutting has arguably been their standout player. He has 129 runs, averaging 64.50 apart from picking up seven wickets. Tymal Mills and Sohail Khan have five wickets each. Naseem has promised, but have been taken for runs when put under pressure.
Jason Roy, Shane Watson, Ahsan Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & WK), Azam Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Ben Cutting, Anwar Ali, Fawad Ahmed, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain
Probable Top Performers
Tom Banton– Peshawar Zalmi | Sarfaraz Ahmed– Quetta Gladiators
TV: D Sport
Live Streaming – Cricket GateWay
Match Timings – 19:30 IST; 19:00 local; 14:00 GMT
The prediction is for the team, batting second to win the match.