About the Match
The Qalandars registered an emphatic 1-wicket victory against United in the last match to climb up to the 2nd position with 6 points; they will take on Zalmi, who have slipped down to the 4th position after ruling on top till now, on 24th February at Dubai. Zalmi suffered a shocking defeat against Karachi Kings recently, making it their second consecutive defeat, and they will need to make a comeback here before it’ too late. Qalandars, on the other hand, have had a mixed run so far but their recently found success has made them a tough contender here; it needs to be seen which team can cleverly use the resources to emerge victorious on Friday.
The bowlers put up a brilliant show against United, demolishing them at 145 thanks to a special 3-17 by Aamer Yamin; spinners Sunil Narine and Yasir Shah contributed well with 3 wickets between them. The batsmen then chased down the target with 4 balls to spare in a thrilling finish. Umar Akmal held his nerved together to post 66 runs; all-rounder Elliott then kept calm and steered the team across the finish line with a well-made 26 off 17.
In the earlier match against Gladiators, the superb efforts of the batsmen went in vain as the bowling unit failed to defend 200 runs. Jason Roy and Fakhar Zaman posted a 77-run opening stand while Rizwan and Delport ensured to get the big runs on board. However, the speedsters weren’t disciplined and gave away too many runs, costing them the match by 5 wickets.
They have a well-balanced combination of pace and spin, which has been consistently taking wickets; with batsmen like Elliott, Umar Akmal, Fakhar Zaman and Roy in good form, Qalandars could prove to be a tough nut to crack here this time around.
The last time they met Qalandars, the bowlers had choked the opposition, getting them all-out for just 59 runs on board within 10.2 overs; fast-bowlers Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan and Wahab Riaz dealt heavy blows while spinners like Afridi, Hafeez and Asghar outwitted the Qalandars easily. The chase threw up some hiccups on the way with quick dismissals but Morgan and Afridi took charge to cruise to victory by 3 wickets.
However, their recent two losses could have dented their spirits, especially the failure to chase 175 runs against Kings. The top-order collapsed like a pack of cards and it was left to Captain Sammy and all-rounder Afridi to get the runs on board. While the latter posted a heroic 54 off just 28, and Sammy scored 34, others crumbled under pressure and they lost the contest by a close 9 runs.
Against United too, the batting line-up put up a dismal show with players like Tamim Iqbal, Kamran Akmal, Hafeez, Shakib Al Hasan and Shoaib Maqsood failing to fire. Defending 136 was an uphill task for the bowlers and although the speedsters provided regular breakthroughs, they could not win. Overall, they have the resources to make a comeback provided the batsmen focus on partnerships.
Qalandars are in good form to avenge their previous defeat against Zalmi but they will take a cautious approach with bat and ball; Zalmi has many experienced batsmen but their poor form of late is cause for concern. The contest could be well fought by both sides but we feel that Qalandars have the psychological advantage after their recent win to come out with flying colours here.