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November 13, 2020

Wahab says his players are not rusty


November 13, 2020

KARACHI: Peshawar Zalmi skipper Wahab Riaz says that most of his team’s players have been in action which will help them during the final phase of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“Most of our players were playing domestic cricket. Faf du Plessis and Hardus Viljoen were part of the IPL and Saqib Mahmood was also playing cricket in England. It’s a big advantage for you that your players are not rusty,” Wahab told a virtual news conference here on Thursday.

Zalmi will face Lahore Qalandars in the eliminator on Saturday (tomorrow) here at the National Stadium.

Zalmi on Wednesday lost to Multan Sultans by 22 runs in a friendly game here at National Stadium and Wahab said they would work on their weaknesses which came to fore during that show. “The game against Lahore Qalandars gave us insight into where we lack. We will try to work on those weaknesses and overcome them,” Wahab said.

He said he was happy that overseas players had arrived here for the playoffs. “It is a welcome sign that foreign players have come for the remaining part of the PSL,” he said.

He said the local players had made a massive contribution. “I firmly believe that your local players play key role in wins. The teams that have won this tournament — their local players have performed exceptionally well,” Wahab said. “Haider Ali is in great form. Kamran Akmal is an asset for Peshawar Zalmi and Shoaib Malik is sharing his experience. All our players are match winners. I expect every player to contribute,” he said.

He said he expected Kamran to provide firepower. “We win the match easily whenever Kamran scores big. The way he bats he gives you a start which releases the pressure. InshaAllah this year too he will repeat his performances,” Wahab said.

He said Hasan Ali would not be available for the first eliminator due to an injury. “Hasan is not yet fit. But he is with the team. He has been a very important member of Zalmi. InshaAllah I hope he will be ready for the second game as Zalmi needs him,” Wahab said.

He said he expects solid knocks from South African batsman Faf du Plessis and Sohaib Maqsood, who has been roped in in place of Sammy who failed to arrive for the playoffs due to logistic issues. “Faf is an outstanding player and is highly experienced and I am hopeful he will continue his IPL form here. Sohaib is a destructive player and he will also play his role for Zalmi,” he said.

Wahab is determined to play a role for his side. “I have been playing consistently and performing. I will try my best to deliver for the team,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lahore Qalandars skipper Sohail Akhtar said that his team would carry the momentum of the first phase into the playoffs.

“Momentum is very important for a team’s success. I am confident that we will take our momentum into the playoffs,” Sohail said at a virtual news conference. “Our players are well gelled. A couple of new players have come in, but we have got time and are playing practice games. Hopefully, we will keep this momentum in coming matches,” the skipper said.

About hard-hitting Australian batsman Ben Dunk, Sohail said that he would keep living up to the expectations. “Dunk is performing the role he has been given. The rest of the players are also living up to the billing,” Sohail said.

“We have a good combination and the plus point is that our batsmen and bowlers are in full form,” he said.

Lahore Qalandars, who finished third at the points table, will lock horns with Peshawar Zalmi, who finished fourth, in what could be a fascinating eliminator.

“We tried during Covid-19 lockdown to work on our weaknesses and that will help us,” he said.

Sohail said that they know the strength of Zalmi and will plan accordingly. “We have seen Peshawar Zalmi’s strength and are planning according to that. We will try to set a combination accordingly,” said the 34-year-old allrounder.