|Finished.143/6 (18.3) - 140/6 (20)|
There’s nothing quite as agonizing as being inches from glory only to lose your hard-earned shot at it. The Lahore Qalandars made it to their first playoffs last year, and even managed to go all the way to the final before having their dreams dashed by the Karachi Kings. Now they have to start afresh and build on lessons learned and experience gained. Their first opponent this season will be the Peshawar Zalmi - the team the Qalandars beat in the lower bracket of the first round of the playoffs. Zalmi narrowly managed to sneak into the playoffs last season, trumping out the Quetta Gladiators by virtue of a better net run rate. The three-time finalists failed to reach the finals last season, and will be keen on avoiding last year’s fate. Before the two teams lock horns in front of a 20% crowd, let’s take a look at how they stand.
Sohail Akhtar (c), Ben Dunk (wk), David Wiese, Dilbar Hussain, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hafeez, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Rashid Khan, Joe Denly, Samit Patel, Tom Abell, Zeeshan Ashraf (wk), Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Faizan, Maaz Khan, Zaid Alam, Ahmed Danyal.
Sohail Akhtar (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Samit Patel, Ben Dunk(wk), David Wiese, Haris Rauf, Rashid Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Dilbar Hussain, Maaz Khan.
Preview and form
We have received news of one of LQ’s players testing positive for Covid-19, but it is as yet unclear as to whom that may be. The Qalandars will nevertheless be starting off in high spirits, having bettered their record by quite some margin last season despite not being able to make it all the way. The Qalandars bolstered their batting with 5 purchases this season, while also getting three bowlers. In the former camp, we have Joe Denly, Tom Abell, and Zeeshan Ashraf as notable additions, while the latter group consists of Ahmed Danyal and the incredible Rashid Khan. Among older acquisitions, names like Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, David Wiese, Samit Patel, Ben Dunk, Haris Rauf, and Shaheen Afridi stand out, while Dilbar Hussain’s return from injury will also be good news.
LQ Key players
Mohammad Hafeez: If Hafeez can get going, chances are his team will get that win.
Ben Dunk: Dunk was an absolute superstar for the Qalandars last season, and things shouldn’t change much this year.
David Wiese: After many brilliant all-round performances last season, Wiese should start off well this year.
Rashid Khan: Voted T20 cricketer of the decade, Khan will be instrumental to the Qalandars’ success.
Haider Ali, Kamran Akmal (wk), Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz (c), David Miller, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ravi Bopara, Sherfane Rutherford, Amad Butt, Umaid Asif, Saqib Mahmood, Imam-ul-Haq (wk), Muhammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan, Ibrar Ahmed, Mohammad Amir Khan.
Kamran Akmal (c/wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Ravi Bopara, Sherfane Rutherford, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Saqib Mahmood, Ibrar Ahmed, Amad Butt, Mohammad Irfan.
Preview and form
News has emerged that Zalmi captain Wahab Riaz and coach Darren Sammy have been sent into isolation for 3 days after breaching biosecure protocol, so the duty of captaincy will most likely fall upon the experienced shoulders of Kamran Akmal. The loss of PSL’s highest ever wicket-taker for the opening match, however, will be quite the blow. The Zalmi have one of the most lop-sided squads in the PSL, with only 3 regular batsmen in their lineup (one of whom, Liam Livingstone, will be unavailable). Relying heavily on all-rounders for batting, the Zalmi purchased Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Sherfane Rutherford, Amad Butt, Imam-ul-Haq, and Ravi Bopara this year. If that sounds like a lot, they went absolutely ham on bowlers, buying no fewer than 8 this season alone. The notable ones from those 8 are Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Umaid Asif, Saqib Mahmood, and Mohammad Irfan. Their more experienced important players are Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, and Wahab Riaz.
PZ Key players
Kamran Akmal: The 39-year-old still holds plenty of sway in the PSL scene being the highest-ever run scorer.
Ravi Bopara: After some good performances in the Abu Dhabi T10 League, Bopara will be expected some solid performances from.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman: The Afghan magician has been creating waves in T20 leagues around the world.
Umaid Asif: In lieu of Wahab Riaz’s expertise, Umaid will have to step up to fill that void.
Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi weather conditions and pitch report
It’s going to be quite hot in Karachi tomorrow, which might trouble some foreign players, and the low humidity might be a small issue, but as for cricket, no rain and a nice breeze should make for great conditions.
As we’ve already said, the pitch at the National Stadium in Karachi provides a great surface for fast bowlers while also catering to the needs of batsmen. Spinners won’t find much luck here. Expect scores of 170 or so to be decent for the first innings.
Can the Qalandars get off to a winning start to establish the fact that last year wasn’t a fluke? Or will the Zalmi take revenge for that playoff match? Find out if our Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi predictions come true on Sunday!
|LQ Top Batsman:|
|PZ Top Batsman:|
|LQ Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|PZ Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|M Ur Rahman|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|M Hafeez/B Dunk (LQ), K Akmal/R Bopara (PZ)|