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Friday June 14, 2024

Sultans seek comeback as they take on Gladiators

By Asher Butt
February 15, 2023
Multan Sultans´ Rilee Rossouw (R) celebrates with captain Mohammad Rizwan (C) celebrates after scoring a half-century (50 runs) during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match between Multan Sultans and Quetta Gladiators at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on February 18, 2022. — AFP
Multan Sultans´ Rilee Rossouw (R) celebrates with captain Mohammad Rizwan (C) celebrates after scoring a half-century (50 runs) during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match between Multan Sultans and Quetta Gladiators at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on February 18, 2022. — AFP 

LAHORE: Mohammad Rizwan’s Multan Sultans take on Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Quetta Gladiators in the third encounter of the Pakistan Super League 2023, at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Wednesday (today).

Quetta have failed to make the playoffs in the last three editions. As the match starts at 6pm, both captains will have in mind the dew factor that could hamper their teams' performance. Overcoming that factor would be the captains’ first concern.

The wicket of the Multan Stadium did not support the pacers in the opening match between Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans. Batters too will have to alter their style on the slow wicket. The spinners are likely to benefit a lot on this track.

In the opening match, right-arm medium pacer Sameen Gul proved costly for Multan against Lahore so Abbas Afridi is the likely choice in the playing XI against Quetta.

Even Shahnawaz Dahani leaked more than 10 runs per over in the first match. However, Dahani will be required as he provides pace and bounce that could get the hosts regular breakthroughs.

Rizwan, having posted 75 runs off just 50 balls in the previous game, will be the key for Sultans throughout the tournament.

Leg spinner Usama Mir proved to be the most economical bowler for his side, taking 2 wickets in his quota of four overs in the opening match and is expected to be the main bowler.

The runners-up of the last season, Multan will surely be going all out to taste victory after their opening match loss.

Quetta Gladiators will be hoping to break the jinx of failing to reach the playoffs. Just like all the previous seven seasons, Sarfaraz will be handling the responsibility of leading the team.

Iftikhar Ahmed will be the player to watch out for as he is coming after a sensational performance in the Bangladesh Premier League. The team also has the services of Odean Smith, Dwaine Pretorius, Will Jacks, Jason Roy, Naseem Shah, and Wanindu Hasaranga. Their collective performance in today’s match will uncover their approach in this year’s tournament.

Multan and Quetta have played a total of 10 matches against each other. Though the two teams have given a tough time to each other, Sultans have an edge with five wins to their name. Gladiators have won four games against the 2021 champions. One match was abandoned.

With all the assessment, Multan Sultans will be the favourites despite the fact that Quetta have a good combination at their disposal.