The action moves back to Lahore as we enter the second half of the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Barring Lahore Qalandars, all the other teams have played at least five games already and have registered at least two wins. But the Qalandars are still winless.
The Sohail Akhtar-led side just hasn’t been able to get over the line. Lahore Qalandars have blown hot and cold in all three departments. If the bowling has fired in one game, the batting has in another. There hasn’t been a single collective performance yet. They could manage just 138 batting first in their first game. They did rack up 182 but couldn’t defend as Islamabad United chased it down with one wicket and one ball to spare in what turned out to be a thrilling encounter. Against Peshawar Zalmi, they leaked 132 runs in 12 overs and fell 16 runs short in the chase.
Meanwhile, Quetta Gladiators have had an up and down season so far. They have chased in four out of the five games and all their three wins in this tournament so far have come while batting second. The only time they failed in a chase was in the last game against Multan Sultans when they lost by 30 runs chasing 200.
Peshawar Zalmi are the other team that beat the Gladiators in this tournament. With six points, the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side is currently second on the points table but the other three teams following them are either on five or six points. Hence, Quetta Gladiators need to buckle up and pick up some momentum.
Only one batsman from the Lahore Qalandars has registered a fifty in this PSL so far and that is Mohammad Hafeez when he scored a fine unbeaten 98. Barring that there have been decent contributions from Chris Lynn and Fakhar Zaman at the top while Samit Patel has looked good in the middle too.
Shaheen Afridi has been in excellent form and has led this bowling attack really well. He has picked up six wickets from three games and is going at an economy of 5.72. Dilbar Hussain has complemented him well too. But the others in the bowling attack need to contribute as well.
Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman, Chris Lynn, Mohammad Hafeez, Dane Vilas (wk), David Wiese, Samit Patel, Sohail Akhtar (c), Shaheen Afridi, Dilbar Hussain, Maaz Khan, Salman Irshad
Jason Roy has looked in really good touch at the top of the order. He is the leading run-getter for Quetta Gladiators this season, making 170 runs from five innings. Shane Watson has done decently as well but isn’t as consistent as before. Sarfaraz Ahmed has played a crucial role in the middle order.
Ben Cutting provides that balance and edge to the side with his power hitting and ability to chip in with the ball as well. He is striking at 185.36 with the bat and has also picked up five wickets from three games. Mohammad Hasnain is leading the charge with the ball. The speedster has picked up nine wickets from five games. The likes of Sohail Khan and Naseem Shah have been inconsistent and leaked a few runs at times.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Shane Watson, Ahsan Ali, Azam Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c & wk), Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Khan, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Anwar Ali
Focus will be on
Fakhar Zaman [Lahore Qalandars] – The left-handed opener has looked in good touch in this PSL. He has scores of 19, 33 and 22 in the three games Lahore have played so far. However, he’s thrown away starts after looking set for a big one. He will be itching to convert one of these into a substantial knock and if Fakhar does that, the Qalandars could well be on their way to winning their first game of the season.
Ben Cutting [Quetta Gladiators] – Every time Ben Cutting has got going with the bat and remained unbeaten, Quetta Gladiators have landed on the winning side. It was against Islamabad United both times that Cutting took his side home. Moreover, he’s bowling well too. Thus, he will be a player to watch out for.
Head to Head
Matches – 8: Lahore Qalandars won – 3| Quetta Gladiators won – 5
9 – Wickets picked by Mohammad Hasnain which is the most by any bowler in this season of the PSL.
Live Streaming – Cricket GateWay
Match Timings – 19:30 IST; 19:00 local; 14:00 GMT