Table-toppers, bottom teams lock horns today as PSL shifted to Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI (92 News) – The Pakistan Super League shifts to Abu Dhabi on Monday after a two-day rest with table toppers Peshawar Zalmi taking on number-two placed Quetta Gladiators and bottom-placed teams Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings locking horn.
Peshawar and Quetta are on equal points at 10 from seven matches each, but Peshawar is placed at number-one due to their better net run-rate. Peshawar has a net run-rate of 0.85 as compared to Quetta’s 0.08.
This means the winner of this match will be assured of a place in the play-offs.
Quetta Gladiators were off to a great start, winning their first four games before losing the next two. But on Friday, they thumped Multan Sultans to return to the winning ways.
Peshawar Zalmi clinched a last-ball thriller against Islamabad with Liam Dawson hitting the winning boundary off Mohammad Sami. In that regard, Peshawar has shown remarkable quality of playing well under pressure.
Peshawar will hope their opener Kamran Akmal returns to his best as his only notable score to date has been 49. He did become the first batsman in HBL PSL history to complete 1,000 runs during his 19-run innings against Islamabad, but Peshawar would hope of more from him in the business end of the league.
Quetta have won all their games while chasing and their two losses have come batting first. So, Peshawar would again like to put them into bat after winning the toss. Only one team has batted first after winning the toss in the 22 HBL PSL matches to date.
Kamran’s younger brother, Umar, has also lost his run-scoring form after a bright start to the tournament. But, Quetta also have Shane Watson (226 runs in seven games) and Rilee Rossouw who both give their team solidity at the top and in the middle.
Both Peshawar and Quetta have good pace attacks, Peshawar gets the bits from Hasan Ali (18 wickets in the league so far) and Quetta from Sohail Tanvir who has 12 wickets in seven matches.
The other match on Monday with both the sides striving to stay alive in the tournament.
Both Karachi Kings (seven matches, three wins and four defeats) and Multan Sultans (eight games, six losses and just two wins) need a win badly. Multan will definitely be out if they lose to Karachi, who will still have an outside chance even if they go down.
Multan Sultans have big names in Shoaib Malik – top-scorer in the league with 240 runs in eight matches – and Shahid Afridi.
Malik said his team was not crossing the finishing line.
“Lady Luck has not been with us in this tournament and we are not been able to cross the finish line. So, in the last match, we badly need a win and I am sure the team will give it a best try,” said Malik.
Karachi Kings will also want to win as they would love to reach the play-offs as following Monday’s match, their remaining two matches will be in Karachi. They will hope for a place in the play-offs before a home crowd will inspire them further.
Despite having a good pace attack comprising of Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari and Sohail Khan, Karachi have not been able to stop teams from scoring good totals.
Liam Livingstone has been the top performer for Karachi in batting as he is third on the run chart with 227. His innings of 38 set the tone for Karachi’s run-chase of 134 against Lahore in their last game.
Karachi’s Babar Azam also needs to score big after scoring just 19 against Lahore, while Colin Ingram is also in search for runs after his magnificent 127 not out against Quetta in Sharjah.
Points table (ahead of today’s matches)
4 March (March No.23) – Peshawar Zalmi v Quetta Gladiators, Abu Dhabi (match starts 430pm PST)
4 March (Match No.24) – Karachi Kings v Multan Sultans, Abu Dhabi (match starts 9pm PST)
5 March (Match No.25) – Lahore Qalandars v Peshawar Zalmi, Abu Dhabi (match starts 430pm PST)
5 March (Match No.26) – Islamabad United v Quetta Gladiators, Abu Dhabi (match starts 9pm PST).