Monday September 25, 2023

Defending champions Qalandars take on Gladiators today

By Our Correspondent
February 21, 2023

KARACHI: Defending champions Lahore Qalandars will be looking to bounce back when they take on Quetta Gladiators in their third-round clash of the HBL PSL 8 here at the National Stadium on Tuesday (today).

After a narrow one-run win over Multan Sultans in the tournament opener on February 13 at the Multan Cricket Stadium, Lahore Qalandars remained highly unimpressive in their second meeting with Karachi Kings as the latter crushed them by a huge margin of 67 runs on Sunday.

Set to score 186, Lahore were skitlled out for only 118, a pathetic batting performance from the Qalandars who mostly rely on their lethal bowling unit.

Sialkot-born 23-year old Mirza Tahir Baig remained impressive with 45 but there was no other solid contribution. If Lahore are to notch wins they will need to boost their batting performance. They kept the same line-up in both the games and it is expected that they will make some changes for their show against Gladiators who have a potent pace force and wicket-taking spinners in their fold.

The world’s leading leggie Rashid Khan of Afghanistan was scheduled to arrive on Monday. His presence will make Lahore’s bowling unit even more destructive, already having Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan, David Wiese and spinners Sikandar Raza and Liam Dawson.

Lahore practised here at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre on Monday. Skipper Shaheen Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, David Wiese, Mirza Tahir Baig, Kamran Ghulam, Shahwaiz Irfan, Ahmed Daniyal, Dilbar Hussain, Shane Dadswell, Jalat Khan and Ahsan Bhatti attended the optional session which lasted for two hours.

Quetta Gladiators, who were set to face Peshawar Zalmi Monday night here at the National Stadium, had a poor start to the season when they were defeated by Multan Sultans by nine wickets in Multan.

Gladiators batting flopped in that show, managing only 110 which Multan chased for the loss of just one wicket. In their second game, against Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators showed some spine and edged past their rivals by six runs to open their account.

Martin Guptill hammered 117 off 67 balls to guide Quetta to 168-7. Kings were then restricted to 162-5.

Quetta’s top order batting will need to click and at least two batsmen will have to play big innings if they are to post 200 on the board or chase a target like this.

A great spark was seen in Quetta’s bowling, particularly in pace bowling, as the way Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain bowled against Kings was a treat to watch. The youthful pair of great quality hit the right areas and demonstrated superb pace bowling. Defending 37 in the last three overs, Naseem Shah gave away six runs in the 18th over before Hasnain conceded seven in the next to leave 24 for the West Indies medium pacer Odean Smith to defend in the final over and he conceded 17 runs to manage.

Quetta Gladiators: Martin Guptill, Jason Roy, Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Odean Smith, Qais Ahmed, Omair bin Yousuf, Will Smeed, Saud Shakeel, Nuwan Thushara.

Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Mirza Tahir Baig, Shai Hope, Kamran Ghulam, Hussain Talat, Sikandar Raza, Liam Dawson, David Wiese, Shaheen Afridi (captain), Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan, Shawaiz Irfan, Abdullah, Ahsan Hafeez Bhatti, Dilbar Hussain, Shane Dadswell, Rashid Khan, Ahmed Daniyal, Dilbar Hussain, Jalat Khan, Shahwaiz Irfan, Ahsan Bhatti.